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Album Review Music Music Videos Studio

Bitch Better Have My Money Music Video: Allow Me to Break It Down for You

Our Phucks-Free Diva doesn’t get mad; she gets even.  Rihanna extracts some serious revenge in the Bitch Better Have My Money Music Video…

Last week pop music’s reigning Bad-Gal, Rihanna, FINALLY released her Bitch Better Have My Money Music Video, symbolizing that we may be one step closer to the officially coming of #R8.  After getting a little more personal with The Beatles in “FourFiveSeconds,” Ri Ri is pulling out all the stops for her return to ratchetry…  What better way to celebrate than with kidnapping, ransom, drugs, blood, and a healthy serving of nipples?

In the wildly violent visual Rihanna extracts revenge on “The Bitch” by borrowing kidnapping his wife and getting down and dirty with a blade.  Since there is so much going on in the Bitch Better Have My Money Music Video, I thought that it may be beneficial to break things down a bit…

It all starts off with a gorgeous blond wandering around her penthouse apartment in a sheer bra, before kissing her husband goodbye and heading out for an adventure with her perky pup.

After a less than ideal elevator ride, Rihanna kidnaps “The Bitch’s” wife by knocking her unconscious and stuffing her in a large trunk.

Next stop is the gas station, where Ri Ri announces the crime and assaults a phone booth, BUT she does provide her victim with a snack.  Never say that Rihanna isn’t a generous soul…

After announcing her demands the Good Girl Gone Bad siren heads to her lair, where she let’s her victim hang out for a while.

What do you do when you’re one of Rihanna’s tit-tastic prisoners?  Obviously you join her for some fun filled fuckery across land and sea.

There are parties to attend and deserts to tan in.

The police may make an appearance, but Rihanna is always one step ahead of the game.

After having her fun, Rihanna goes in for the true prize: Revenge.

Basically, you have FourFive Seconds before she knives you and your wife.  Suddenly it seems much more worthwhile to pay up.

In true Bad-Gal Navy Leader style, the Bitch Better Have My Money Music Video ends with Ri Ri naked and covered in blood while reclining in a trunk filled with money.  What harm is a little bit more nipple going to cause at this point?  One thing is clear is that Rihanna definitely got that paper…

Sorry for being late to the party on this post.  Let’s just say that I owed Rihanna some money (them TIDAL Exclusives add up), and we all know that she doesn’t take that shit lightly.  I strongly recommend that you simply pay her to save yourself the trauma of becoming “The Bitch.”  As fun as it may look, swinging upside down in Ri’s warehouse is NOT as pleasant as you would think.

Our “Diamonds” songstress seems to be pulling inspiration for the Bitch Better Have My Money music video from real life, more specifically a time when she was owned some paper from her good-for-nothing accountant in 2009.  In 2012 Rihanna leveled a lawsuit against this bitch before eventually settling outside of court for a cool $10 million.  Basically the expenditure was equally expensive, but a lot less bloody in real life.

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Album Review Music Music Videos Studio

Alexx Mack Makes Being Bad Look So Amazing In Her Bad Music Video

Alexx Mack shows us why it feels so damn good to be bad as all hell in her new Bad Music Video, and she looked absolutely BABIN’ while doing so…

Rising synth-pop princess Alexx Mack had a huge hit on her hands when she released her anthemic “Bad” earlier this summer.  The female empowerment banger came complete with a dance friendly production and a killer chorus that entrances listeners from the first moments.  I kid you not when I say that the song gets stuck in my head for weeks every time I hear it, because it is just that good!

In a previous interview between the two of us for PPcorn Alexx Mack explained to me that it feels so good to be bad because “well, no f***s are given! And that’s the best.”  This girl basically became my hero in one quote!  Things were off to a great start with “Bad,” and then Mack took it to the next level with the release of the Bad Music Video!  Get ready, because things get a little rowdy in the bold visual.

The Bad music video sees Alexx Mack seducing a bespectacled student while dressed as a pin-up inspired naughty school girl in reverse action.  The video starts with Mack marking her very nude and very attractive lover with a territorial kiss, before rewinding and showing viewers exactly how Alexx Mack got the boy.  Obviously a slow motion pillow fight ensues as well as a strip tease in the kitchen.  Glasses of wine break, chests are put out for display, and a good time is had by all…

Talk about having a good time walking on the wild side

Being bad has truly never looked like so much fun!  Alexx Mack’s Bad Music Video is all sorts of playful, and it is the perfect accompaniment for such a promising track.  The visual balances campy fun with a playful, yet seductive edge with relative ease, and Mack’s character throughout the video is played perfectly.  The Bad music video proves that Alexx Mack is truly a fantastic performer, and that she is capable of portraying a truly dynamic character.  She plays the good girl gone bad with ease, and it’s entirely compelling to watch!

Alongside the release of the video, Alexx Mack revealed that her DEBUT EP Like We’re Famous is gearing up for an October 9 release.  Now is the perfect time to get a little more familiar with the “Bad” princess!

What do you think of Alexx Mack and her daring Bad visual?  Let me know!

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Album Review Music Music Videos

Pentatonix Stand Out In Their ‘Can’t Sleep Love’ Visual

“Give me that can’t sleep love / i want that can’t sleep love / the kind I dream about all day / the kind that keeps me up all night / yeah.”  Pentatonix lay it all out on their bright new single… 

A Cappella mavens Pentatnoix are gearing up to release a new self-titled album in October, and they are starting to feed the fever by sharing some of the album with fans.  Earlier this week the group released the album’s lead single “Can’t Sleep Love,” and today they are hitting us with the single’s accompanying music video.

“Can’t Sleep Love” serves a sweetly addictive pop romp complete with a psychedelic edge.  The laid-back midtempo sees the group searching for a relationship that keeps them up at night and in the dreamworld all day long.  True to form, Pentatnoix is delivering an innovative a cappella production.  With only five musicians in the group, it is unbelievable the depth that the group is able to achieve with their staccato beatbox, deep bass, spoken asides, and wailing guitar lines.  They’re surely not asking for much, but they’re giving it all up for us on the track.  How could you not love them?!

In the accompanying music video the talented group perform the single in front of a collection of bold and graphic walls.  Dancers have been painted to match the various patterns on the walls, and they add a sense of motion to the product.  Instead of focusing on a storyline, the group continues to provide a bright and bold visual that perfectly matches the vibe of “Can’t Sleep Love” while remaining true to brand.

So much yes!  “Can’t Sleep Love” is easily one of the most radio friendly releases from Pentatonix to date.  With its funky vibe, incredibly tight production, and bright vibe this is the kind of song that will make a killing in the final days of summer, while still managing to achieve a roll over success as fall kicks in.

While the track’s music video doesn’t offer much of a storyline, it still stays incredibly true to the group’s brand and is a creative concept.  More importantly, it has simply raised excitement for future releases from the group.

What do you think of “Can’t Sleep Love,” and are you ready for Pentatnoix to drop? Let me know!

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Games Music Music Videos

Players Best Keep Up, Because Tinashe Brings the FIRE in Her New Music Video

Tinashe pops, locks, drops, leaps, turns, and works in a series of dance battles leading up to one epic standoff in her new “Player” music video…

Rising R&B hitmaker and pop princess Tinashe served up something fierce with the release of “Player,” the first single off her upcoming Joyride album.  With it’s dance friendly pop sensibilities and Chris Brown feature the song is huge for the “2On” singer, and it just got better with the release of its official music video!

In the video game inspired visual Tinashe faces off against a slew of dancers in a series of progressively more complex dance battles.  No dancer is able to best the acrobatic siren, who displays her technical skills on the dance floor across a variety of different styles.  Through it all Tinashe whips her body into a series of incredible shapes, turning, leaping, kicking, and throwing herself into the battles with gusto.  Obviously, no one can keep up; and those players are kicked to the side.

The progression leads to a final show down of sorts against the “boss,” a role played by Tinashe’s collaborator on the song, Chris Brown. For the final round Tinashe and Chris Brown utilize the art of seduction and their sick moves on the floor to fight to the end…

WERK QUEEN!  Tinashe is one of the few pop acts who is consistently capable of serving amazing choreography, and the talented songstress doesn’t disappoint this time around.  There is less of a focus on tightly choreography moves (like those displayed in her equally impressive “All Hands on Deck” visual) in the video; Tinashe instead loses herself in the beat, which adds an organic edge to the impressive feats.  In an age when most pop stars rely upon tricks and editing to stir up emotion, Tinashe is relying upon her raw talent.  This girl knows how to go hard in the paint, and she’s not holding back here!  Kill ’em child!

What do you think of Tinashe’s newest visual?  Slay or Nay?

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Music Music Videos

Sia and Her Karate Pro Battle Shadow Demons and Survive in her “Alive” Visual, But Does it Live Up to Expectations?

Sia hires a new mini-me for her “Alive” music video, but does it hold a candle to the work of Maddie Ziegler?

Pop superstar (who is incredibly famous despite never showing her face) Sia is gearing up for a new era of music!  The “Chandelier” songstress is releasing a new album titled This Is Acting early next year, and she has shared the music to prove it.  Earlier this week Sia unveiled the project’s second track “Bird Set Free,” but today the focus is on lead single “Alive” and it’s new music video.

After watching Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler don her platinum bob and nude bodysuit for a trio of hugely emotional music videos last era expectations are understandably high for Sia’s visuals.  They tend to exude a sense of intimate, raw emotion that resonates with humanity’s fragile nature.  This time around Sia has replaced Maddie’s frantic antics for the karate stylings of a young brave heart, and the result is decent, but it doesn’t evoke quite the same sense of connection.

Our favorite platinum bob has evolved and is taking inspiration from Cruella de Vil for a new era of music.  New year, new me; and this time our young karate pro is rocking a perfectly divided black and white bob.  Is it a reference to the duality of Sia’s presence on tracks intended for other artists, some type of proof that this really wasn’t intended for her to perform?  Is it a reference to a new “Sia state,” or did Sia just get bored and want to change up the look?  Who knows, but regardless this is pretty much the extent of evolution between eras (beyond a new performer) so it is worth noting.

Rocking

Set in an abandoned parking garage, “Alive” becomes the theme song for a young girl to battle her shadow demons.  The child is dressed in a traditional karategi with a black belt to showcase her superior training status, and she fluidly moves between various poses.  There is a controlled grace and beauty to the movements as the young girl passionately fights to rise above the burnt out destruction around her.

While Sia’s “Alive” music video lacks some of the raw emotion that made “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart” instant classics, the visual still packs a resounding amount of power.  There is less of a broken down struggle for survival (perfectly encapsulated by Maddie Ziegler’s frantic choreography); however, a deep rooted sense of conviction remains.  A sense of triumph also exists within the visual that is unfamiliar after the 1000 Forms of Fear era, but herein lies part of the issue.  Sia still depicts our young protagonist battling invisible demons, but the visual feels more cute than impressive.

It feels almost kitschy in a way that previous attempts haven’t.  You felt for Maddie’s character in the previous videos, so much so that you wanted to reach into the screen to help her.  Now you have simply been relegated to the role of observer.  Sia’s live performances may breathe an additional sense of life into the music, but this video falls a little flat.

What do you think about Sia’s newest effort?  Let us know!

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Album Review Music

Album Review: Lady Gaga Strives to Find Herself on ‘Joanne’ with Mixed Results

Drop a hat on her head, and call her Joanne. Lady Gaga introduces a new character to the lineup on her Americana-influenced fifth studio album.

Promising to deliver a deeply personal album is the kiss of death for pop stars. Pop icon Britney Spears vowed to provide fans a glimpse of her soul on her eighth studio album Britney Jean but instead seemed barely present in the midst of generic electronica (thank Godney for the creative comeback that is Glory). Bad Gal Rihanna delivered something innovative but with half the fun we’ve come to expect on ANTi.

Now, Lady Gaga is the latest pop starlet struggling to find any sort of authenticity on her most “personal” album to date, her just released Joanne

Gaga has been notably absent from the pop scene following the lukewarm reception of 2013’s ARTPOP; however, that’s hardly to say she’s disappeared.

She teamed up with Tony Bennett to showcase her vocals while belting out jazz standards on 2014’s chart topping Cheek to Cheek. Presenting a relaxed aesthetic, Lady Gaga proved to the general public that her voice could drive a successful album release without relying on headline-grabbing, outlandish performance art.

It was this Lady Gaga who appeared at the 2015 Oscars to perform a stunning tribute to The Sound of Music. Gaga continued to shock critics with her frank honesty on 2015’s “Till It Happens To You,” which served as a theme song for the campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground.

Making her acting debut on American Horror Story: Hotel enabled the hitmaker to incorporate some of the more gruesome elements of her performance art while playing a murderous succubus. Netting critical acclaim for her portrayal, Lady Gaga signed for a second season of the show and announced her musical return with Joanne in a sort of one-two-punch.

Heralded as her return to the pop scene, fans and naysayers alike had high expectations of Joanne. Those expectations were fed by Lady Gaga’s team in the months leading up to the project’s release. Joanne was to see Gaga teaming up with RedOne, the producer and writer responsible for helping her helm some of her defining hits including “Just Dance” and “Poker Face.”

Mark Ronson of “Uptown Funk” infamy signed on to co-executive produce the effort alongside Gaga. Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine signed on to contribute her vocals to a track, and Beck (of Beyonce-Grammy-robbing fame) offered a writing credit as well. BloodPop (“Sorry,” Justin Bieber) joined the mix, co-producing alongside Gaga and Ronson on the entirety of the album’s standard edition.

It was assumed that Gaga would be returning to her cleverly written and expertly produced dance pop of previous records; however, those expectations were dashed with the release of the project’s lead single “Perfect Illusion.”

“It wasn’t looooove, it was a perfect illusion,” Gaga growled over rock guitars on the track. The track abandoned any expectations of a pop production in favor of the stomping bravado of stadium rock. Her raw vocals and frenzied runs give the sense that the track is more a clumsy demo that borrows elements of tracks that have worked before and tosses them over the rough production.

With the release of buzz single “Million Reasons” and the project’s alleged second single “A-YO” the lack of pop became more evident. Massive hooks have been abandoned in favor of some good ol’fashioned rock, blues and Americana on Joanne.

Gaga’s attempts at delivering Americana are somewhat effective; however, her efforts lack the authenticity that was promised by Mother Monster ahead of the project’s release. It seems as though Lady Gaga has donned the persona as Joanne as yet another stage name.

She’s set a pastel hat on her head and abandoned her city-girl, party-pop aesthetic in much the same way that she dragged on a cigarette and glued on mutton chops to assume the character of Jo Calderone during her Born This Way eraThe final result is just as jarring and about as believable…

lady-gaga-album-release

The album opens with a flashback to Lady Gaga’s early Go-Go dancing days, referencing her hunger for fame on the rock-infused “Diamond Heart.” The track builds to a Gaga-esque chorus complete with confidently belted vocals. It’s hardly the first time that Gaga has referenced her need for fame (hello “Applause” and The Fame), but there is an element of rawness to her approach to the topic this time around. She’s starving for the applause and fabulously flawed, but regardless Gaga possesses a steadfast heart.

On few tracks is a country influence more evident than it is on the honky-tonk kiss off that is “A-YO.” Billed as a track for the haters, Gaga serves a confident performance on the track. Feeling slightly reminiscent of Jessica Simpson’s popped-up take on country anthem “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” Gaga’s voice is buoyant over the hook-ridden production. Though it improves with repeated listens, the track nonetheless feels like a try-hard attempt at gaining some crossover success.

That hunger for a successful crossover continues on tracks like “John Wayne” and “Come to Mama.” On the first Gaga expresses her desire for a romp in the sack with a cowboy while the latter sees Gaga channeling some of Meghan Trainor’s throwback vibes while petitioning for a little more love in the world. “John Wayne” at least injects some playful life into the production, making for one of the more interesting moments of the release.

The much-hyped Florence Welch collaboration on “Hey Girl” provides an updated take on “Bennie and the Jets.” The girl power anthem updates the classic with some playful synths, but although Gaga and Welch are preaching the benefits of females working together their voices seem entirely disconnected. It’s as though they recorded the track from different sides of the globe, providing minimal opportunities for harmonizing.

Sinner’s Prayer” and “Grigio Girls” are forgettable though listenable cuts from the track. The latter is more effective, as Gaga sings alongside a choir about an evening relaxing with her ladies and a glass (or bottle, no judgment) of wine.

That’s not to say that Joanne is without it’s successes…

Buzz single “Million Reasons,” the album’s title track and the socially conscious “Angel Down” prove that Lady Gaga remains one of the best balladeers in pop music. “Million Reasons” delivers an earnest ode to heartbreak, as the songstress struggles to find peace in a relationship. It is potentially one of the more successful attempts to implement a country-inspiration into the album, and it provides a notably softer more raw moment to the project.

The album’s title track provides a moment for soul searching over acoustic strings. Titled after her father’s sister while also referring to her own middle name (she is Stephanie Joanne Angelina Germanotta after all folks, not to be confused with Britney Jean Spears or, gods forbid, Madonna). “Girl, where do you think you’re going,” she fragilely sings on the chorus. It’s an ode to letting go and moving on, revealing a more raw side of Gaga’s musicality.

The Beck-assisted “Dancin’ in Circles” is a delectably unhinged treat and potentially one of the most “Lady Gaga” tracks on the project. Delivering an ode to female masturbation, Gaga’s lyricism is at it’s wittiest on the track. “Dancing in circles, feels good to be lonely,” Gaga playfully sings over the bouncy production. It’s a wild moment that provides some levity to the meaty subject matter of Joanne.

In all, Gaga promises authenticity but instead explores a new character on Joanne. The album proves to be an interesting if slightly jarring listen from the Mother Monster. One thing that is fairly consistent throughout is Lady Gaga’s voice, which remains excellent if somewhat jarring on some of the numbers. While it leaves you wanting a little more in spots, Joanne improves with additional listens.

Over the years Lady Gaga’s ego has proven to be her greatest foe, as she tends to over promise and under deliver on projects. Heralding Born this Way as the album of the millennium is just one example of Gaga’s pretentiousness negatively impacting her artistry.

Her complete confidence and utter commitment to her craft surely make her a godsend capable of delivering visionary and groundbreaking moments; however, it also proves to be her greatest weakness. This is increasingly evident with Joanne, especially as the artist hops on social media to respond to negative critics.

Her recent Beats 1 interview sees her continuing to battle comparisons with pop’s reigning queen Madonna, and her response reveals that she seems to consider herself and her work as more worthy than that of other pop stars. “She’s the biggest pop star of all time, but I play a lot of instruments,” she said. “I write all my own music. I spend hours, and hours a day in the studio. I’m a producer, I’m a writer. What I do is different… There’s spontaneity in my work.”

This misconception that pop music doesn’t require skills (especially when speaking of Madonna, who has always been remarkably involved in her craft) is yet more evidence of Gaga’s ego. Pop music has given Lady Gaga the platform that she currently holds; and without it, it’s possible that she would still be the go-go dancer starving for fame that she referenced in “Diamond Heart.”

More confusing is Lady Gaga’s misconception that pop music cannot be both serious and fun. Had Gaga wanted to make an album that felt authentic and resonated with her core group of fans, the wealthy New York City native easily could have descended into electro-kissed productions like she has in the past. “Dancing in the Dark” being the perfect example of a pop song that delivers depth.

Instead, we’re left with the celebrated pop star delivering her best attempts at Americana in an attempt to be taken more seriously. It’s not bad, it’s not great, and it’s surely not a glimpse into the heart and soul of Lady Gaga. With that in mind, we’ll settle for getting to know her latest alter ego.

What do you think about Joanne? Weigh in below!

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Music

Cisco Adler Maintains an Optimistic Outlook on new Single ‘Clouds’

Cisco Adler looks beyond the darkness towards an optimistic adventure on new single “Clouds.”

Malibu California-based singer, songwriter, and producer Cisco Adler is back with his latest laid back release. One half of indie-hip hop duo Shwayze, Adler debuted on the scene in the late aughts with their relaxed hit “Buzzin’” and follow-up release “Corona and Lime.”

Earlier this year he gave fans a taste of some solo material with new single “Don’t Kill My Buzz,” proving himself capable of delivering a fresh and mellow serving of alt-pop.

Courtesy of Cisco Adler

Now, Adler is back with his latest release “Clouds,” and he’s delivering an inspirational message over another relaxed production.

“Let the sun shine through your clouds / let the blue sky slowly come out / let the wind blow all around” Adler sings over an acoustic arrangement. His vocals are peaceful but earnest, and he delivers the lyrics with a sense of solid determination.

“Clouds” is another refreshing release from Cisco Adler with a powerful message. It’s nice to see hear more from the artist who released a slew of hits while working as one half of Shwayze.

Although he has more solo material in the works, Adler has also stayed busy working behind the scenes on a variety of projects. He’s worked with the likes of Cody Simpson (FREE) and Vic Mensa and is currently working on reimagining Rocky Horror Picture Show. Still, it’s nice to get a taste of his solo work while we wait for his new projects to drop.

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Music

#MusicMonday Feat. Sia, Lady Gaga, Pentatonix, Allie X and More

This week’s #MusicMonday is lush with potential hits from the likes of Lady Gaga, Pentatonix, Zella Day, Allie X and more…

This week a slew of new music has been released on the world. Days with Destiny has compiled the greatest pop hits in a handy #MusicMonday post for you. Whether you’re looking for a soulful serving of tropical house, a new pop pop or something more seductive there’s a track for you!

Check out what’s burning up my #MusicMonday playlist this week below!

Little Mix: “Shout Out to My Ex“

Little Mix are kicking off this week’s #MusicMonday with their epic breakup anthem “Shout Out to My Ex.” The potentially Zayn-referencing kiss off sees the girls moving on from the shitty lovers in their past with a heaping serving of self-confidence. “Guess I should say thank you / for the “hate you” and the tattoos /Oh baby I’m cool by the way / ain’t sure I loved you anyway,” the declare on the pre-chorus before exploding into a cathartic release on the chorus. It’s a bright pop masterpiece with clever references to one of the most in-demand ex-boybanders on the scene right now, so here’s to hoping that the UK girls have a hit on their hands!

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Album Review Music Studio

Jeremy Thurber Finds ‘Deliverance’ On His Striding New EP

Jeremy Thurber finds musical redemption on his acoustic EP Deliverance

Los Angeles based singer songwriter Jeremy Thurber is a bright spot on the scene. The rising talent has had some success as a solo artist in the past, and his thoughtful lyricism has made him a staple behind the scenes. After writing for and performing alongside the likes of Meghan Trainor, Jake Miller, and Big Time Rush, Thurber has turned the attention back to his own work.

Now he has reemerged on the scene with his largely acoustic EP Deliverance. The five track release showcases Jeremy Thurber’s craft while simultaneously charting the blissful heights and heart aching lows of a relationship. It’s a journey to deliverance in the arms of a loved one, and as a result the EP soars on a lush emotional climate.

For Thurber, the rising star claims that he has found deliverance in a different lover’s arm; his music. “I was feeling like I wanted to quit” he candidly explained of his emotional climate before hitting the studio. With the encouragement of executive producer Gabe Lopez, Jeremy opted to solider on and found redemption in the recording studio.

“I sat down and wrote to just a piano; I forgot everything in the world and just wrote what I felt.” The resulting tracks comprise Deliverance and showcase the rising talent’s brilliant star power.

The album opens with the first single and title track. Armed with a piano and aural production, Thurber vows to be a lover’s salvation. “Count on me / you’ll never be alone again / I’ll be your deliverance.” Clocking in as the shortest song on the EP, “Deliverance” is nonetheless a touching effort from the crooner and a powerful opener.

Thurber takes it to the piano and offers up his heart and soul on the stripped back “Sacrifice.” The rainy day track proves that Jeremy would make the ultimate sacrifice for love and remains a stunning listen. His voice resonates with the pain of mistakes and the hunger to make things right. “It pains me to see the way that you hate me / what you want is to wrap this up, come on by / I’ll be your sacrifice,” Jeremy Thurber declares, boldly offering up his heart for his beloved’s happiness.

Easily one of the most magical moments on the EP occurs during the tender “Morning Glow.” Delivered in his sweet falsetto over a lush production of piano and seraphic synth, Thurber welcomes a lover to bask in the glory of a new morning after an evening together. “I’m living for this morning glow / our song is on the radio / I wanna take it nice and slow” he romantically croons to his beloved. It’s a delightfully tender moment on Deliverance, and it proves that Jeremy Thurber’s star power shines brilliantly regardless of the amount of production surrounding his voice.

On “I Swear I’ll Never Let You Go” Jeremy vows to adore his lover through the passing of the seasons. It’s another tender, piano led ballad that sees the crooner losing himself in the tide of his relationship. It’s a beautiful testament to a love that will endure, and it’s delivered with the utmost of devotion.

Thurber closes the release out with “Don’t Hold Me Back,” which is easily the most energized track on the release. Over a production lush with handclaps the artist makes a bid for balance within the relationship. Drunk in love, Thurber realizes that he could fall prey to his lover’s wiles and struggles to keep his head above water. Its placement on the EP provides a slightly unresolved ending to the relationship that we watched blossom over the previous five songs; however, it is nevertheless an enthralling conclusion to the release.

No relationship is without faults, and “Don’t Hold Me Back” delves into the darker aspects of love. It can open your heart to great adventures, but it can also hold you in the mire of mixed emotions. That track proves that every relationship doesn’t have to have a perfect ending to have a positive impact on your life. Jeremy Thurber tackles a difficult topic with care and proves himself still able to find redemption.

Jeremy Thurber is serving something seriously impressive on Deliverance. The crooner has established himself as a reliable hitmaker and has proven himself more than capable of delivering consistently evocative and powerful releases. The EP is a striking collection of thoughtful pop gems that are lush with pure emotion. Each track displays his ability to layer sound and emotion to create a diverse soundscape that vibrates with life and personality.

Deliverance has effectively introduced the world to the rising talent that is Jeremy Thurber. It’s a starkly beautiful effort that truly encompasses the dizzying power of love. Along the ride Jeremy Thurber delivers seemingly effortless musical perfection. He fearlessly wears his heart on his sleeve, and the result is a powerful journey towards redemption.

Stream Deliverance in full below then let us know what you think about Jeremy Thurber’s latest effort!

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Album Review Fun Music Music Videos Studio

Review: ANTi – Rihanna Makes An Impression With Half The Fun

In the immortal words of Rihanna “the wait is over.” After years of waiting, the world has finally been introduced to the ANTi – Rihanna, and this unexpected new entity signifies a new chapter in the Rihanna reign that just won’t let up. 

Yesterday (January 28) the pop gods were smiling upon Rihanna’s Navy, as an employee at TIDAL inadvertently uploaded Rihanna’s eighth studio album to the service before a release date was even announced. Months of promotional projects, buzz singles, and ruthless teasing of the fans all went up in smoke as Rihanna and her team rushed to counteract the leak by sharing the album’s standard edition in some sort of official manner. One free download and TIDAL exclusive later, fans were learning exactly what it means to be anti-Rihanna.

Read on for a full ANTi review below!

To sum it up quickly, being ANTi means abandoning the danceable anthems and club ready bangers that we have come to lovingly associate with Rihanna. In their place we are presented with a sea of moody and experimental mid-tempos that move the pop siren in a new direction.

The album also bids farewell to last year’s buzz singles in favor of a moodier sound a la The Weeknd or Tinashe. Gone are the folksier (and “fucking iconic”) moments on “FourFiveSeconds” and “American Oxygen,” and the club-ready ratchetry of “Bitch Better Have My Money” is sadly a thing of the past.

ANTi opens with a declaration of independence on the striding “Consideration,” a collaboration with rising R&B songstress SZA.  “I got to do things my own way Darling” Rihanna proudly proclaims with a heavier accent than we have come to associate with the Barbadian musician. The track serves as an introduction of sorts to the album’s concept; this is Rihanna’s attempt to return to her own unique musical vision while promising to keep things exceptional. “Let me cover your shit in glitter / I can make it gold” she brazenly brags before attempting just that on the remaining tracks.

Unfortunately all that glitters is not always gold…

Rihanna immediately moves into the dithering “James Joint,” on which she entices a lover with her body and a couple grams of illicit substances. The song has been presented as an interlude; however, on a soundtrack with a scant thirteen contributions the track fails to gain much traction in less than a minute and a half.

Kiss It Better” is an instant standout at first listen. Drawing influences from one of her icons Prince, Rihanna creates an intimate atmosphere over guitars and atmospheric production. The single feels the most reminiscent of Rihanna’s previous work and will prayerfully receive the single treatment in the future.

Sandwiched between two album standouts, ANTi‘s official lead single “Work” sees Rihanna returning to the dance hall sound of her earliest releases. Unfortunately the result is a less than inspirational call to arms. Pairing up with frequent collaborator Drake, the single is barely comprehensible as Rihanna mumbles across the beat. As a result, the cut feels like a rough demo and is one of the weakest to rise from ANTi.

Selecting “Work” as the new lead single for ANTi is one of the strangest decisions that Rihanna and co. have made over the exhausting album release schedule. It’s unclear if they were hoping to capitalize off the big name collaboration with Drake after a handful of underperforming buzz tracks, or if they truly beleived that “Work” was amongst the best of material on the album…

Luckily the album’s low point is followed by the darkly pulsing “Desperado.” Arguably one of the darkest tracks to make the final cut, the track allows Rihanna’s deeper register shine over a sparse and distorted production. There is a sense of desperation and danger to the track that undulates with the beat as Rihanna decides whether to flee with a lover on the run. It’s nice to hear a track that manages to be ANTi – Rihanna yet still pays tribute to the dramatic sounds we have come to love and expect from her.

Heavy distortions set the scene for “Woo,” Rihanna first collaboration with assumed boy-toy Travis Scott and The Weeknd. Playing the part of a indecisive lover Rihanna oscillates between fury and lust for a lover. In a moment of power Rihanna sends the boy-toy packing, declaring “I don’t even care about you.” With its almost sinful content The Weeknd’s influence is evident, but the track fails to make a serious impression.

Wobbling synth introduce Rihanna’s empowerment anthem “Needed Me.” The track is one of the most confident on the album, and sees the songstress reminding a lover that he needed her by his side. Strong production and a memorable chorus elevate the track and helps it stand out amidst it’s surrounding tracks.

Rihanna is on the prowl on “Yeah I Said It,” displaying her sexual prowess over a delectably raunchy beat. The “Cockiness” siren is clearly the ringleader in this sexual circus while declaring that she and her prey don’t need a title to get down and dirty. The track feels like a continuation of Rihanna’s sensual “Skin” with it’s layered moans and sinful production.

Same Ol’ Mistakes” borrows from Tame Impala’s “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” for a smooth slice of icy R&B. A series of voice overs on the chorus display Rihanna’s hesitation as she falls into a relationship, but the cover fails to ignite any true passion.

The Dido-assisted “Never Ending” is a fragile moment for the Barbadian beauty. The track seems to discuss both her relationship with herself and with a lover, as she laments on losing a part of herself to the past. The simple production and stripped back vocal performance make for a beautiful and conflicting listen.

Love On The Brain” takes things back in time for a compelling throwback hit; you can practically hear the scratch of the record player underneath Rihanna’s sweet upper register. Signing about the dangers of an abusive relationship, Rihanna overlooks the pain for the sake of the good moments. Such dark content seems out of place against the traditional production; however, that contrast sets the scene for a powerful moment.

Rihanna closes out the album’s standard edition with two true ballads, “Higher” and “Close To You.”

The first plays as a shattered and drunken plea to an ex-lover while showcasing some of Rihanna’s most emotive vocals. Her voice cracks and purrs it’s way though the desperate and fucked up plea. While a little tough on the ears at points (homegirl really howls here), it only adds to the character of the piece. Clocking in at just over two minutes though, it leaves fans wanting more closure. Its as though Rihanna got a dial tone midway through her drunken dial, but we would benefit from taking things one step further.

The latter, “Close To You,” presents Rihanna’s vocals over a simple piano. The tinkling keys provide a delicate background for the heartbreak of a failing relationship. The track is fraught with heartache and pain, and it will undoubtedly find a home alongside Rihanna’s classic ballads such as Unapologetic‘s “Stay.”

A deluxe edition provides fans with three additional tracks. The first, “Goodnight Gotham,” inexplicably features no vocals from Rihanna. Instead it is comprised of clips of Florence and The Machine’s “Only If For a Night.” Apparently ANTi – album tracks don’t always require vocals from the main artist? Soo forward thinking…

Hit-Boy-assisted “Pose” delivers the brazenly confident Rihanna we know and love from tracks like “Bitch Better Have My Money.” The brag heavy track comes a few tracks too late to truly make an impact on the sea of monotonous mid-tempos on the standard edition regardless of how enjoyable it is.

The final bonus track “Sex With Me” is yet another bright and brag-heavy anthem. This time Rihanna proudly declares that sex with her is, like so totally amazing. Though less encapsulating than “Pose,” it’s still confusing why the track failed to make the standard edition.

Overall, ANTi delivers a relatively cohesive collection of music, that falls somewhat short of expectations for a release from the “Diamonds” hitmaker. In an effort to present a more “mature” musicality to her fans Rihanna has stripped back all of the fun and power of a characteristic release.

Technically strong, ANTi leaves you wanting more, because it is quite simply not a Rihanna release without the fun. ANTi – Rihanna may deliver the sex and the weed, but she falls flat on any attempt to deliver the equally alluring raunch-fest of old.

ANTi may be a new era in the Rihanna reign, but we’re hoping that the album merely represents one short chapter instead of becoming the norm.