Showing posts with label chvrches. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chvrches. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 23, 2019 (VIDEO)

So yeah, this took a bit longer this evening than I was anticipating (I had RL work stuff along with a spur-of-the-moment choice to do my taxes), but it's here regardless. Kind of underwhelming, but what can you do.

Next up... well, it might take a day or two, depending on when the data I need comes in, but I think we're going to stay in hip-hop - stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 23, 2019

So this week surprised me - a lot. I was gearing up for a Juice WRLD album bomb that would make my life miserable, and to my amazement that didn't happen. In fact, we got a pretty average week on Billboard BREAKDOWN, where Juice WRLD did make an impact but nowhere close to what I was predicting, and that leads me to questions about his label and management I didn't expect I'd have. Hell, I knew the kid had a short shelf-life, but I didn't expect Interscope mismanagement to be the biggest contributing factor, I thought the album just being crap would have done enough!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

video review: 'love is dead' by CHVRCHES

So this night turned out to be way crazier than I thought it would be... and it's a shame that this middling review of a middling record will get lost in the shuffle.

But hey, Billboard BREAKDOWN is up next, so stay tuned!

album review: 'love is dead' by chvrches

I was worried about this record.

Actually, 'worried' isn't quite the right terminology there, because that implies a level of uncertainty that something wouldn't turn out to the standards that we all expect and hope from CHVRCHES, who at least for me have hit two line drives out of the park with their first two albums. Many cite The Bones Of What You Believe as the stronger release with its sharp, garish early-80s synths, but I actually stand behind their follow-up Every Open Eye as the better record: the gloss has been buffed to a mirror shine, the lyrics focused the abstract narrative into a more emotionally nuanced package, and the hooks were easily among the best in synthpop. Both records would wind up making year-end lists for me, but it was Every Open Eye that broke my top ten, and for damn good reason.

But I did have a concern coming out of that sophomore record, and that was, in essence, CHVRCHES had just copied their own formula, including much of the thematic arc from their debut, and I at least had a concern they could fall into that same trap yet again... until I saw the production credits for this record. A switch in labels put them with producer Greg Kurstin, the first time any of their records had not been produced entirely in-house... which sure, could net them a very different sound, but Kurstin has had a bad habit of suffocating his mixes in reverb and even if CHVRCHES was acknowledging they were heading towards conventionality, it would require a very delicate balance to do so without compromising their sound and style. But hey, if this was their big pop swing, they had been primed for this off of Every Open Eye, so Love Is Dead might just work, right?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

the top 25 best albums of 2015 (VIDEO)

And now we've got the last of the lists - damn, this video took WAY too much work to get online...

Okay, next up... well, it's Rachel Platten, so nobody cares, but after that is Billboard BREAKDOWN, so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

the top 25 best albums of 2015

We're now onto my final list, the one that always produces a certain amount of frustration as I struggle to recognize the best of the best. And as I said in my last list, it's always difficult to narrow it down to the best of the best. And this year was probably the hardest yet, mostly because it started so damn strong and was able to sustain that momentum into late this year. And while I was able to trim this list down to 25. And thus for the sake of my own conscience, I need to mention a few Honourable Mentions in no particular order that just missed this list. 

Because believe me, when you have comeback records like No Cities To Love by Sleater-Kinney and Tetsuo & Youth by Lupe Fiasco that show huge returns to form, they deserve at least a shoutout. Hell, an album that features a creative rebirth like Baroness' Purple which dropped very late in the year deserves it too. And then you have underappreciated gems like Escape From Evil by Lower Dens, one of the great unsung synthpop records of this year. And on that note, as much it might be a bit of a contentious statement to say that hip-hop had a great year, I stand by it - when you have Earl Sweatshirt, Jay Rock, The Underachievers, Yelawolf, Pusha T and Czarface dropping stellar sophomore records, coupled with comebacks of unexpected quality from Ludacris and killer debuts from Joey Bada$$, all of which might have had a shot for this list in a weaker year, that's saying something. And that's not counting the list itself that's at least twenty percent hip-hop, but we'll get to that - hell, might as well start with...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

video review: 'every open eye' by CHVRCHES

Wow, this was a ton of fun. Definitely recommending this, just so much energy and heart to this record, so easy to like!

Next up... see, I'm considering Silversun Pickups, but that album is driving off the wall... so I think I'll do Kurt Vile instead. Stay tuned!

album review: 'every open eye' by CHVRCHES

For me, this is one of the big ones.

See, I didn't expect much when I first planned to cover the debut album from Chvrches back in 2013. I had heard the gleaming, early-80s synthpop with gleaming high synths against spiky drum machines and distorted beats that seemed to careen off of modern indie pop on the strident vocals of Lauren Mayberry and while I suspected I'd like it, I didn't know how much. And yet at the end of 2013, The Bones of What You Believe landed on my year-end list, mostly buoyed by surprisingly tight songwriting and thematic cohesion.

Fast forward to now and the highly anticipated sophomore follow-up to that synthpop heavy-hitter... but let's be honest here, Chvrches is stepping onto a different playing field. While there were a fair share of releases inspired by 80s synthpop that dropped in 2013, the past year has given us a huge cross-section of synthesizer-driven indie pop, and with the success of Taylor Swift's 1989 and 'Shut Up And Dance' by Walk The Moon, you could argue it's gone outright mainstream. And that's before we even take into account the indie scene, where acts like Lower Dens and The Wombats have released some of the strongest records of the year and others like Metric or even Carly Rae Jepsen aren't far behind. And sure, Chvrches being great songwriters gave them an advantage, but I was curious to see how they could push their sound in a fresh direction that'd enable them to stand out, especially after a few years of intense touring. Did they pull it off on Every Open Eye?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

video review: 'the bones of what you believe' by chvrches

And now the second review. Phew, that's tiring. Now to prepare for the real challenge tomorrow...

Okay Justin Timberlake, let's try this again.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

album review: 'the bones of what you believe' by chvrches

It's always interesting delving into new synthpop acts, at least for me. Even though I was not born in the 80s, I've always had a certain affection for the synth-driven pop and rock of any age in its various permutations. Whether it's the experimental synthesizers of the late 70s and early 80s, adding currents of unearthly unease to post-punk and early synthpop, or the surging, moody darkness of darkwave, or even the mutated hybrid of everything that's popular now, which draws upon pop traditions, the mainstream rise of EDM, and every genre in between, synthpop has always remained an attractive genre for me. Yes, even with the evolution of vocoders to Autotune. 

Now for me, I tend to gravitate to synthpop that attempts towards organic instrumentation, like electronic rock (I have my limits here, though, and you can define that boundary at electronicore) or where the synths support and augment the singers rather than swallow them. And while I have a passion for weirdness, I'm also very much aware that additional dynamic is a little harder to capture, especially when you have some performers who choose to have their unearthly electronics operate as the basis of their weirdness. Incidentally, that's been one of my consistent issues with The Postal Service - I understand their appeal, juxtaposing the very emotionally-driven lyrics with the highly synthetic delivery and instrumentation, but I don't quite connect to it in the same way I did with Deathcab For Cutie's other work. That lack of connection, incidentally, is why I like Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak as much as I do - it's an album about isolation and retreating inwards, and the autotune Kanye uses perfectly encapsulates his attempted separation from his own humanity. 

So with those thoughts in mind, what did I find on the debut album from Chvrches, a new synthpop act who released their first EP last year to some critical acclaim and have presented a full-length debut with The Bones Of What You Believe?