Ariana Grande – thank u, next (2019)

Ariana Grande fever hit a peak around the release of this album. Her previous album Sweetener had gotten attention for those who enjoy contemporary music. Ariana Grande quickly added fuel to her fire for her fans and released this album in early 2019.

It is perhaps not as consistent as Sweetener, but thank u, next is not a bad recording to hear. Let’s have an analysis of this recording.

We begin with imagine, which actually has nothing to do with John Lennon’s own song called Imagine. It’s just a way of Ariana Grande saying what she wants to do with a lover. It’s a great start to this recording. It sounds very full-on. The vocal melodies at the end are great.

Next is needy with a sort of Chrono Trigger (SNES game) electronic sound in the background. This one is not mixed that well, and the mix should have pushed Ariana’s voice further up through the mix. Still, it’s okay to hear. It seems a weaker effort overall, sadly, due to the mix. There are some interesting orchestral sounds at the end though.

NASA continues the overall concept of the album, which is talking about space travel in relation to Ariana Grande’s life. It’s an okay tune nonetheless. It’s an interesting topic to cover though.

bloodline has a strange conversation at the start, before going into a rather routing R & B song. It’s about keeping a lover at a distance. Since Ariana Grande has had many high profile lovers, this is the aftermath of all that had been going on. It’s not that good, could have been done better.

The intro at the beginning of fake smile sounds like something recorded in the 1930s or 1940s but quickly goes into a better (for this album) sounding piece than before. It’s about keeping up one’s guard in the realm of fame. It’s a good listen to. Ariana’s voice sounds really good here.

Next up is bad idea. This is a good piece, but not outstanding. Most of this album, at this point, is very ordinary. It could have been better done, in retrospect. Although the lyrics are merely reflecting Ariana Grande’s life, there is nothing that really sounds truly great at this point.

make up has more discordant sounds, to begin with, before launching into a forgive-and-forget type scenario lyrically. It’s okay to hear, but despite her popularity, this album seems a little pointless. It should not have been rushed in retrospect, and it sounds as though that is the case.

ghostin begins with some freakish atmospheric sounds before launching into a very personal experience with Ariana Grande herself. Admittedly, this piece is a big improvement on the others in the album. This shows that Ariana Grande can deliver very well, be it the correct song. And in this case, she does well here.

Next along is in my head. It’s a straightforward tune but there is a great vocal melody within it. The other elements of the song are very meh. Still, it’s a decent listen. Ariana’s singing is very good here.

The next piece is 7 rings. It is hardly original in approach. It’s a weak song about selfishness. Not exactly a decent tune, especially lyrically. Rather forgettable, to be fair. Could have been bettered.

thank u, next arrives. It’s immediately a catchy song, fortunately. The title track of the album is about relationship issues that Ariana Grande has had with her ex-boyfriends. It’s delivered well. Good job here.

break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored is a joke sort of title for a serious sort of song. It’s about Ariana Grande finding a new path in her life for herself. It’s a good listen for a laugh. The album concludes here.

The verdict with this album? Rather overrated and trashy. Perhaps more time could have been spent re-recording and editing certain sections. It is good but does not live up to the hype. Better luck next time Ariana.

6/10

Ed Sheeran – No. 6 Collaborations Project (2019)

Being the biggest artist in the world, Ed Sheeran has gone a little leftfield here on this recording, and quite rightly so. Featuring the top artists of today, it is another great listen from the man himself and proves, once again, the staying power of Ed Sheeran in the postmodern music scene of today.

We begin with a click and some beats with Beautiful People which features Khalid. It’s a great start to the album, and Ed Sheeran’s singing is excellent here. It’s catchy and exciting enough to get the room pumping. An excellent start to the album.

The follow-up South Of The Border which features Camila Cabello and Cardi B sounds a bit like Shape Of You but it’s somewhat different. It’s still very catchy but great all the same. “Come south of the border with me,” is what Ed Sheeran wants you to do, whilst you sing along to the song. Nice.

Cross Me which features Chance The Rapper and PnB Rock, feels more urgent in its delivery. But it’s a good piece nonetheless, showing the good rapping skills of the guests and Ed Sheeran’s chorus delivery is unique. Epic.

Take Me Back To London featuring Stormzy is a wonderful piece which is almost like a rap battle. Ed Sheeran aims to please and does so very well. It’s about Ed Sheeran’s sort of life, which he has worked very hard away at.

The next piece is a bit different. Best Part Of Me featuring YEBBA is an excellent acoustic guitar and a piano-driven ballad that has the two main artists switch verses on this song. It’s a great effort, although slower than some of the other songs on the album.

The hit single I Don’t Care with Justin Bieber is an interesting take on a night out in Ed Sheeran’s world. It shows an edge of romanticism about it. It’s an excellent piece, however, and shows some decent substance from these two young men.

Antisocial refers to Ed Sheeran’s life, in which he is exceptionally hated at a party or in a social setting. Featuring Travis Scott, it’s a direct rant against people who Ed Sheeran cannot socialise with. It’s still a good piece, however. It does seem a little weaker than the other cuts though.

Remember The Name which has Eminem and 50 Cent, seems reminiscent of some of the older hits of Eminem’s early days. Eminem’s voice hasn’t aged very well, but the song is very very good. The album so far is very consistent.

The next piece, Feels, has Young Thug and J Hus on it. It’s an okay piece, but not as good as the others. It’s good to hear Ed Sheeran branching out somewhat on this album with different musicians. That is very cool indeed.

The cut after, Put It All On Me, with guest Ella Mai is very good. It’s a much more rapid-fire vocal delivery and is reminiscent of a Led Zeppelin style approach to the two main voices on this piece. A nice song, and worth listening to.

Nothing On You with Paulo Londra and Dave is a rather ordinary piece about romance making at night. The two guests’ contributions don’t really fit well here and could have been better thought out in retrospect. It’s okay, but nothing special.

I Don’t Want Your Money featuring H.E.R. talks about the comparison between love and money. It’s a good moral story about love in comparison to materialism. It’s an excellent listen, and the call and response bit towards the end is very good.

The next song, 1000 Nights, refers to the time Ed Sheeran has done gigging and features Meek Mill and A Boogie wit da Hoodie. It could also refer to drug use, however, not openly. It has a great rapid-fire delivery by Ed Sheeran.

The following song, Way To Break My Heart featuring dubstep star Skrillex sounds rather chill with the sonic instrumentation, although it’s a plea from Ed Sheeran himself lyrically. It sets the rules for Ed Sheeran in his life and is the calm before the storm of the song after this one. There are some trippy sound effects at the end.

BLOW which features Bruno Mars and Chris Stapleton is likely the best song of the whole album and is the ‘last but not least’ sort of thing. It’s loud, raw and rocking, with fantastic lyrics at hand. If you should listen to one Ed Sheeran song, this should be it.

Although this is a very new release and has received mixed reviews, ignore the critics for the most part. This is a great moment from Ed Sheeran, and as we continue into the 21st century, hopefully, many more great moments will come from the man.

9/10

Ed Sheeran – Divide (Deluxe Edition) (2017)

Ed Sheeran is most likely the most popular musician alive today. He has had a winning streak throughout the 2010s and is now so wealthy that he is almost a billionaire. This album is a great album in postmodern contemporary music, so let’s dive in and check it out.

Eraser kicks off the album with a message that tells of Ed Sheeran’s difficulties coping with fame. It’s a fairly straightforward tale of rock and roll excess, with Ed Sheeran stating that he finds comfort in his pain. It’s a disturbing but catchy enough song.

Castle On The Hill is another catchy piece which tells of a childhood haunt of our main man. It’s a decent song, and one not far away from Penny Lane or Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles. Nice to hear that sort of influence.

The following song, Dive, talks about the sacred nature of love. It’s a beautiful piece with Ed Sheeran pleading for reassurance from his lover before he dives right into her. Ed Sheeran recently married, so it’s safe to assume that this song is about his new lover.

After that, we have the tropical sounding Shape Of You, a huge hit upon release as a single. It’s lyrically perverse but catchy as anything. It’s a very solid piece, and demands repeated listening. “I’m in love with your body,” says Ed. Brilliant.

Perfect is the most beautiful song ever done by Ed Sheeran, and also truly one of the most beautiful songs ever made. It’s a tearjerking ballad but so well done that it hits the spot very, very well. Perfect, indeed.

Galway Girl is a take on Irish music and a great job of it. It’s a good listen with some Irish fiddles in it and seems very anthemic. A nice leftfield tune by Ed Sheeran. Ideal for anyone who likes this sort of folk-like thing, it’s great for that purpose.

The follow-up Happier is a strange sort of message about lost love, but feeling better about it after some time. Hence the title of the song. It’s not a nasty message though, in fact, it is reassuring. It is a slower piece but as good as what has come before on this album.

After that song, we have New Man. This song is about a pretentious sort of guy who doesn’t get respect from Ed Sheeran. A simple meaning over an acoustic pop background is here and chugs along nicely.

Hearts Don’t Break Around Here is a simple sentiment about getting the right woman to be with to love. Not since The Beatles has the world of pop music encountered such brilliantly done romanticism. It’s effective, to say the least.

What Do I Know? is a hipster-like song with a philosophical bent. It’s one of the best statements you will hear in pop/rock music today. It simply talks about the power of music and love, “…but what do I know?” asks Ed Sheeran. It’s not a definite statement of self-importance, but a good one nonetheless.

The Coldplay-like How Would You Feel (Paean) is a wonderful song about love and companionship. It’s a slightly weaker song, but it’s still quality nonetheless.

The very sad sounding Supermarket Flowers is an ode to Ed Sheeran’s mum. It’s a nice way to reveal to the world about he feels about his own mother. “You were an angel in the shape of my mum”. Ed Sheeran – a brilliant musician indeed.

Barcelona is a catchy and upbeat song which is very good poppy stuff. It’s about Barcelona itself and has a very good and catchy chorus. Mint.

Bibia Be Ye Ye is a nice sort of song about the aftermath of getting trashed after a night out. It’s not throw away at all, despite the fact it is not a hit single. It’s still solid and does very well with some quacky guitar sounds in it.

The next song is Nancy Mulligan, a fictional story about running off with said girl to get married to her. It’s an interesting piece with fiddles again. Never a dull moment on this album whatsoever.

The most direct and recognisable statement is Save Myself. It’s a great way to finish off this album and makes one feel satisfied after this listen. It’s a great album no doubt.

This album went stratospheric after its release. Ed Sheeran is now all over virtually every radio station and has become a household name. After all – he deserves it. This is a quintessential and great album.

9/10

Ariana Grande – Sweetener (2018)

The biggest artist in the postmodern world is Ariana Grande. She has become the highest artist listened to on postmodern music charts, and has a great batch of songs to boot. This album really set the ball rolling for her in terms of popularity and being recognised as an artist. Let’s see if this album lives up to the hype.

The introduction raindrops (an angel cried) is a great piece, revealing Ariana Grande’s multi range vocal. She really does well here, and is a great start to the record. She sings powerfully, and with deep emotion. Great stuff.

We then kick off with blazed which features rapper Pharrell Williams. It’s not really about weed smoking, but it’s more about love. The lyrics are typical R&B sort of stuff, but the song is good anyway. It’s very catchy.

the light is coming is another guest vocalist piece, this time along with Nicki Minaj. It’s a postmodern “girl power” sort of track. It’s kind of annoying after a while to listen to. But okay for R&B nonetheless.

R.E.M. is a piece about dreaming of a lover. It’s a laidback and chilled sort of listen. It compares such a dream to reality. It’s a nice piece to listen to and fits well on the album. It opens up lyrically in a personal way, which is very typical of Ariana Grande to do.

The follow up is a very powerful statement from Ariana Grande, God is a woman. Which is probably a realistic observation. It is very melodic sounding, and it talks about a personal affection as a woman like Ariana Grande. It’s quite emotional, the chanting at the end of this track is great.

The title track of the album, sweetener is a good poppy and upbeat song to listen to. It refers to a positive outcome from love. It’s just terrific listening. It’s a gentle statement from Ariana Grande.

successful is directly about the confidence that Ariana Grande feels in her spotlight as a singer. It’s perhaps bragging or boasting, but the chorus is catchy enough to forgive our singer for that. A nice variety of sounds are here as well. The word bae is frequently used here, google that one if you are unsure. Very good regardless.

everytime is a piece about dealing with the pressures of fame. It sounds very dark though, with Ariana Grande delivering similarly themed lyrics. It’s not bad though, but reveals a darker, more personal side to her music.

The following song breathin is a more melancholy piece for the listener. It’s about keeping on going through life, no matter whatever happens. The repeated lyric, “Just keep on breathing and breathing and breathing,” is delivered fantastically and wonderfully here. A good piece from Ariana Grande, especially in her singing.

We then launch into no tears left to cry, with Ariana Grande telling the listener to remain positive no matter what. The lyrics have a little bit of a hypocritical nature about it though. It’s okay though as a song.

borderline is a short song, with Ariana Grande referring to herself as a “wifey type”. Ariana Grande has had her fair share of relationships in the limelight, and this song directly covers some of these. Missy Elliot does a short rap part towards the end. Not too bad to hear.

better off begins with an organ, then Ariana sings, leading into a nicely melodic piece with a chilled vibe. She reveals that her type of love based relationship and admits her love is not just for anybody. We can see why this sort of thing is very popular today. It’s a good listen.

The next song, goodnight n go reveals a more bitter side in Ariana Grande’s music about frustrations in her personal life. It has an annoying melody in the chorus, but that is easily forgiven.

The short ode to her ex pete davidson is a sweet and melodic piece that barely goes for a minute. It is a kind, and retrospectively, wasted gesture. But still, it’s good.

get well soon is a good way to end the album. It is a nice devotion to those going through hardship. It ends with nearly two minutes of silence, then we have finished the album, feeling great.

This album is proof of the postmodern talent that is Ariana Grande. She continues to make great music to this day. For those who do not know R & B style pop music, you can’t go wrong by listening to this album. It’s an enjoyable listen, by all means. A variety of beats, sounds and singing go wonderfully here. Well done Ariana Grande.

8/10

Oasis – Time Flies… 1994-2009 (2010)

Oasis were the best band of the 1990s. There, of course, was always friction between Noel Gallagher and his brother Liam on everything Oasis did. This sadly brewed tensions that by 2009, Noel had enough of. After a backstage incident of violence and Liam Gallagher breaking one of Noel’s guitars during an argument, Noel left Oasis and released a press statement shortly afterwards saying so. The band millions were familiar with had now gone.

But the flip side of the band breaking up was this album. It’s a fantastic representation of what Oasis were from start to finish. It includes songs from every album, as where Stop The Clocks ignored Be Here Now totally and Oasis had not yet recorded Dig Out Your Soul. This album is quite possibly the best starting point for the British rock band. It’s got a variety of great songs galore.

It’s a double disc album. Every album is covered here, and instead focusing on B-sides and rarities like Stop The Clocks did, it focuses on the main tracks of interest. Which is possibly why this album is just as essential as a good album by The Beatles. It also features Lord Don’t Slow Me Down and Whatever for the first real exposure of two very good songs indeed. The former is a fantastic acoustic based rant which sounds like it should have been on Don’t Believe The Truth. The latter is orchestral Oasis pop at its finest.

Is there a weakness with this album? Yes. Too much of the bad quality Oasis album Heathen Chemistry is here. Even so, it is good to balance out some of the stunning A-side single type songs with more variable and lesser-known songs in that respect.

Apart from that specific weakness, everything you love about Oasis is here. It’s a great compilation and shows you how wonderful the band and their music was. Own a copy today. After Oasis, Noel began a successful solo career in Noel Gallagher And The High Flying Birds. Liam Gallagher and the remaining Oasis members recording some ordinary material under the name Beady Eye which had limited commercial success, before Liam Gallagher began a much more successful solo career.

For those who are real fans, seek out the DVD and extra CDs that came along with this album as well. The DVD is fantastic and features commentary by Noel Gallagher.

Madferit.

9/10

Far East Movement – Free Wired (2010)

Who knew that a bunch of cool dudes living in California from an Asian background would make such great tunes? This album is a good album and deserves your attention.

The album itself is a great mixture of Electro, Hip Hop, EDM beats and RnB Pop sensibilities. Let’s give a run through of the track listing:

The first song Girls On The Dancefloor sets the scene, a party tune that is catchy, modern and hook-laden. It is pure fun.

The group’s biggest hit follows, Like A G6. This song features cut-up vocals, a catchy 808 “bump” and references to heavy drinking. Club central? You got it. Just don’t act like you’re drunk when you listen to this song.

Rocketeer is a rather melancholy piece about being in love. It’s great listening for anyone out there, “I’ve never been to outer space before, but I’ve never seen a face like yours” is a great lyric. These guys show more flexibility than your average pop group.

The next song features Snoop Dogg and comes titled as If I Was You (OMG). It’s a hilarious song about admiring the things girls do to get a guy’s attention. Pretty dirty though.

She Owns The Night is a great dance piece about a girl who masters her moves on the dancefloor. It’s more interesting and catchy than you’d think. These guys obviously had their fair share of wild nights.

The album begins to lag with So What? It’s not a bad tune, but can be repetitive to some. It does sample Kid Rock screaming, “WHATCHU WANT?!!” which proves that these guys had a variety of music tastes outside of the music scene that they would typically play.

Fighting For Air is a passionate song about sharing moments with a lady. And it’s not bad. In fact, by this point, this album is still going, and it kicks ass.

The following song White Flag features yet another guest Kayla Kai and is almost call-and-response in the way it is structured between verses and choruses. This is an unusual technique in today’s pop music and shows how intelligent the Far East Movement are.

The last song is kind of funny, but rather rubbish. 2 is Better is rather politically incorrect, and is only advisable for heterosexual men to listen to.

So why this album? Many people who follow the latest trends would identify this album as “old”. But it still sounds amazing and fresh to this day. If you have a Friday or Saturday night free and are about to hit the clubs, give this one a whirl. Nothing is more suitable for such an occasion. Despite the fact there are many guest musicians here, Free Wired is a club classic.

7/10