Category Archives: #QuickListen Review

#QuickListen Review: Demi Lovato’s “Body Say”

Demi Lovato answers back to Ariana and Selena’s bedroom talk.

Demi Lovato Body Say Cover

Less than a year after her latest album ‘Confident’ (October 16, 2015) was released, Demi Lovato has impatiently debuted the first taste of her next album. “Body Say” follows in the footsteps of Ariana Grande‘s “Dangerous Woman” and Selena Gomez‘s “Good For You” by serving as Demi’s take on a seductive and minimal production. It’s a big change from the power-driven vocals and themes her usual singles favor. And I have to say that I love the chorus! The chorus is multi-textured with Demi and its production commanding, “If my body had a say, I wouldn’t turn a way!” Then reducing to a seductive, “Touch, make love, taste you.” And the trade-off gives the song a unique structure from that.

If the single’s artwork is any indication of what she may be delivering in its visual — it looks like your basic call to a slinky bedroom setup. However, this song’s style doesn’t really vouch captivating/compelling visuals from today’s current artists anyways (unlike Madonna, Janet Jackson and Britney Spears).

Overall, It’s a good sign if her next album will be taking this direction because it challenges her to allow her music and lyrics to take precedence over her vocals for once. If you haven’t heard it, it’s currently avaible to stream on Spotify (below) and on iTunes’ Apple Music. Give it a listen!

 

What are you opinion on Demi Lovato‘s new song?! Let me know here or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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ALBUM REVIEW: Ariana Grande’s ‘Dangerous Woman’

Ariana Grande wears a few different hats in ‘Dangerous Woman’ and luckily none are latex bunny ears.

 

I had a few reservations approaching Ariana Grande’s ‘Dangerous Woman’ considering that I was a bigger fan of “Focus” and the aesthetic she was previewing with that song over “Dangerous Woman.” And maybe she was right about changing the direction of the album… If its opening track “Moonlight” (former title and direction of this album) offers any glimpse about it. The song is an utter bore. It is cute, but I feel like I’ve heard her do these dreamy fifties doo-wop songs too many times along with that damn ponytail of hers.

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Ariana Grande shows off her “moon” tattoo as a tribute to her track “Moonlight.” And much like its effect on myself, the song seems to have her eyes heavy and head bobbing back from fighting sleep.

She follows “Moonlight” with “Dangerous Woman” and we’ve all heard it and moved on from it. So after that is “Be Alright” which is actually a really delightful song that’s also been available for a while. “Into You” is the first track that really captured my attention for the album. It begins with a budding beat as she intercepts with an assuring whisper, “I’m so into you // I can barely breathe.” Claps and other elements are softly introduced with precise timing until she reaches the song’s ultra-catchy and dance-provoking chorus. The song is one of the standouts from the album.

Ariana Grande makes a questionable creative decision to bring an island sound to her collaboration with Nicki Minaj Side To Side.” It’s not a very interesting or great song. And Nicki’s participation feels more like a cheap stand-in for Rihanna, who could have really validated this track. Another collaboration follows with “Let Me Love You.” Lil Wayne is on the track which actually sums up the delinquency of this track; It sounds horribly dated (bad side of 2008-ish).

Greedy” would be better placed after “Focus” than here behind the uncomfortably stale Lil Wayne collaboration. It’s still a fun track though. I was really surprised when I finally made it to her unexpected collaboration with Macy Gray. “Leave Me Lonely” is the single-best ballad of the album. And the song perfectly executes a smokey jazz club singer vibe for which Ariana always shoots for but rarely hits. Macy Gray painfully coos, “Dangerous love // your no good for me” and I was immediately impressed.

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The next few tracks (Everyday, Sometimes, I Don’t Care and Bad Decisions) kind of flatline. And just as I was thinking of quitting and giving myself a break from the album — a bright shining moment happens….. “Touch It” is possibly the best song Ariana Grande’s ever recorded. It is almost a refined, and better, second-take of “Dangerous Woman” and sees Ariana’s lyrics and vocals in a more off-kilter, uncontrolled and powerful way. All of these elements are what I felt DW was missing. For the first time her vocals had some grit and pain to give the conviction her voice has always lacked. The entire production is a bouncing but perfectly balanced explosion of R&B, electro-synth and dynamic/unpredictable melodies. The song bests the entire albums offerings. I will be playing it till the end of time.

‘Dangerous Woman’ is not an entirely solid or cohesive project but there are a handful of songs that would make the dive into it worth the commitment to its lengthy 55-minute listen.

Buy Ariana Grande’s ‘Dangerous Woman’ album now on iTunes and in stores! You can also stream it now (below) on Spotify!

 

What are you favorite songs from the album? Let me know here or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

#QuickListen Review: Iggy Azalea – “Team”

2015’s most hated rapper sounds more insecure than ever.

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Single Cover for Iggy Azalea’s “Team”

Nothing is more enjoyable to me than seeing the underdog come through and succeed from hardships and doubt. Iggy Azalea‘s career has been chronicled in a more than messy way; she’s received little respect from the hip-hop community, she’s canceled an entire tour and even Britney Spears couldn’t revive her after being 2015’s black sheep. With that said, there would be no better person to watch succeed right now than Iggy. Will she though? Most likely not.

“Team” is a mildly powerful anthem for one-woman armies and lone wolves as a standalone track. However, for her career, it is pushing away any chance for Iggy Azalea to garner sympathy or show any artistic growth — which she desperately needs. Its production is simple but not horrible… Mostly the song is nothing Iggy can scream, “victory!” for.

The song does not allow Iggy Azalea to distance herself from the terrible press and controversy that plagued her after the success of 2014’s big hit, “Fancy.” Instead, it plays like a needless and bratty response to the flack from then that she should have already lived past. Iggy wants so badly to be respected as a rap queen, yet continues her tirade that no one’s opinion matters but her own. If that’s the case, she should stop throwing it down our throats that she’s “Fancy,” “Azillion” and on her own “Team.”

She found the most success succumbing to a pop-rap novelty with “Fancy” and “Black Widow” and should have stayed there. She could easily win back everyone’s interest by providing a slew of radio-ready hits to let us forget how unpopular she was last year.

All-in-all, “Team” is a weak player in the defense of “Iggy Azalea.” Listen to the song below:

 

Agree or disagree with my reaction to Iggy’s new song? Let me know here or on Facebook and Twitter.

#QuickListenReview + Song and Video Premiere: Fifth Harmony – “Work From Home”

Fifth Harmony’s new song “Work From Home” is the ONLY “work” needed to be done so far this year.

 The Song:

Our little girls from X-Factor are grown-up working women now! The song  “Work From Home,” (from their upcoming sophomore album ‘7/27’) solidifies a place for Fifth Harmony in the current pop landscape as its favorite dessert dish. Just like “Worth it” being the group’s answer to Top 40’s previous infatuation with jazzy horns, much like  Jason Derulo‘s “Talk Dirty,” this song will sound (and taste) like a delicious dessert played after any of the many main-course hits Justin Bieber currently has in constant rotation on pop radio. They all sound great on the song, although it’s not really a vocal-driven song. The only criticism I’d have for it is that for the final chorus Lauren would have sounded a lot stronger and interesting on the adlibs for the finale (especially since she didn’t have a solo in the song) than the ever-present Camilla.

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Single Cover for Fifth Harmony’s “Work From Home”

The Music Video:

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Dinah Jane demands 16″

The girls’ music video sees the girls in their most sexually implicit roles ever. Filled with phallic symbols and imagery (pictured above: Dinah Jane holding out 16″ on a ruler to her male counterpart), this video takes place at a construction site for a home that Fifth Harmony is hard at work on. I’ve got to say, although I’ve always been apprehensive that they can sell this kind of image or a dance video, they really worked it out! They really shocked me with how sexy this video was. It is a great curve ball pitched though.

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My reaction throughout Fifth Harmony’s new video

I guess performing their sassy dance song for a majority of last year has really paid off. They all look amazing and seem a little too comfortable in their new roles as suggestive women in pop. Watch their video below:

Overall, this song is my favorite single released this year. Fifth Harmony easily snatched the “work” crown swiftly from Rihanna‘s head and placed it upon theirs. Good job, girls.

 

Pre-Order Fifth Harmony‘s highly anticipated sophomore album “7/27” here. What are your opinions on this new release? Let me know here and on Facebook! Follow The Pop Pyro on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#QuickListen Review: “Make Me Like You” – Gwen Stefani

The Queen of “Cool” brings out the summery sunshine early this year

 

Continuing her autobiographical journey out and into new love, Gwen Stefani just released her bouncy ode to her new beau Blake Shelton. Although written by Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels, you’d probably think it was penned by Gwen herself; as this song plays out like a real-time update on her love life.

 

The song begins with Gwen cooing a sigh of pleasure; a stretch from the painfully emotional previous single, “Used To Love You.” Perfect for Valentine’s day, Gwen sings over bubbly pop melodies and ska-inspired guitar and drum beats. This song is such a great summer-ready love song — if it doesn’t make you wanna text your crush, lover, friend, coworker or really ANYONE about how much you are in love with them or yourself than you just really don’t deserve to feel this enamored alongside me and Gwen Stefani.

 

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“Make Me Like You” is the perfect song to display Gwen Stefani’s talent as one of the most fun, positive and lovely pop vets around.

 

The track is from Gwen Stefani’s forthcoming album, “This Is What The Truth Feels Like.” Pre-Order the album right here before it’s March 18th release.

 

 

What were your first #QuickListen reactions to this song? Check out The Pop Pyro on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#QuickListen Review: ‘Confident’ – Demi Lovato

(Originally blogged: October 16, 2015)

I approached this album with the thought of ‘Confident’ being Demi Lovato’s bid for her first Grammy nomination. The bar was set pretty high. Do I believe this is a Grammy-worthy collection of tracks? No, but I wouldn’t write-off this album entirely. Though few and far in-between, there are a few shining moments.

Album Cover for 'Confident'Album Cover for ‘Confident’

Expectations for this album were pretty high because she introduced it as her most “confident” and “best” album to date. I’m doubtful it took much confidence to produce an album that is a near-complete rehash of melodies and sounds from her previous albums. Nor are there any new lyrical themes to aid and intrigue to the vulnerability she’s also attempting to express. And if she’s not repeating herself, she borrows Iggy Azalea to give a Demi-version of “Black Widow” with their collaboration “Kingdom Come”.

Demi Lovato hits the triumphant mark she’s (always) aiming for with the standout mid-tempo track “Lionheart”, which has all the optimism and energy you’d expect from her. Few tracks like “Old Ways” and “Waiting for You” seem to benefit from an urban/trap influence under her Disney-rocker vocals. The album ends with “Father”, a well-written song about her late father, which really didn’t deserve that overzealous and overstated gospel production it was given.

‘Confident’ is hardly a departure from her previous albums. Lovatics should still be pleased with the offerings of this album. Although I wouldn’t bet a penny on her getting an album nomination at the Grammys, hopefully there’s a pot of gold or a genie lamp she can wish upon to have “Cool for the Summer” nominated in a pop category.

#QuickListen Review: ‘Revival’ – Selena Gomez

(Originally blogged: October 10, 2015)

Selena Gomez has the arduous task of proving to everyone that she can be taken seriously as a mainstream pop star.

After her successful 4-album stint as a teen pop sensation, she’s left Disney’s Hollywood Records and signed to a proper music label, Interscope. ‘Revival’ is not as exciting nor has a fraction of the energy ‘Stars Dance’ had but it offers all the sensuality and depth its predecessor lacked.

Album Cover for 'Revival'Album Cover for ‘Revival’

Coming off the energy of ‘Stars Dance’, ‘Revival’ is like coming home after few drinks with your friends and finding your home lit only by candles with a trail of rose petals leading up to your bedroom. At first, you’re thrown off by the change of energy. But the curiosity moves you slowly through the candlelit foyer to the sensual vibes of tracks like “Same Old Love” and “Sober” before making it to the hallway. This is where Selena reminisces of previous relationships and offers the mysterious sounds of “Good For You” and “Camouflage”. Here, she proclaims she has, “so much shit to say.” You finally reach the bedroom to find it empty. The climax is not a lover but actually yourself with self-empowering tracks like “Survivors” and the finale track “Rise”.

The album takes your mind outside of the “schoolyard crushes” and “intro to house parties” environments that her previous teen albums seemed to have taken place. And this successfully allows Selena to tell her story as an empowered and mature young woman. Though mostly a sensual #BedroomMusic vibe through the entire album, tracks like “Body Heat” and “Me and the Rhythm” give a spark of fire to keep the album interesting and fun.

Overall, I think Selena Gomez perfectly executed her emancipation (in her own way) from the teen image she once had and offers a cohesive album for the more experienced listener.