Lauren Daigle Finding Faith Again

Lauren Daigle Finding Faith Again

Lauren Daigle was recognized for her genre of the decade as a Christian artist when she released her first album How Can It Be in 2015 making it platinum status. Like many of her successors, Chris Tomlin, Francesca Batisttille, Danney Gokey, Jeremy Camp, and Matthew West, Daigle’s determination and efforts earned her “No. 1 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart.” (Wikipedia, 2019). Daigle then went on to pursue her career releasing her second album in 2018, “becoming the highest-charting Christian album by a woman in over 20 years, and No. 1 on the Top Christian Albums chart.” (Earl, 2018)  Lauren Daigle’s second successful debut album Look Up Child transitions from subtle Contemporary Christian to what mimics Christian Alternative, particularly pop, a much broader genre that empowers a variety of styles, tones, and compelling lyrics that still constrain to her strong beliefs but also open up to a spectrum that more listeners could find relevant and connect with outside of gospel.

Daigle’s first album How Can It Be encourages listeners to join in the praise through her intense and powerful lyrics. She offers her strong emotions, honesty and faith, and delivers a message that is more along the lines of her religious disciplines inviting others to seek her beliefs as well. However, with Look Up Child, Daigle makes a crossover to what seems relatively like pop music but also combines hip hop and at times we get a little bit of slow rock thrown into the mix. Her piercing and burly as well as tender vocals combined with her lyrics to embody subtle yet uprising evolution music. As Daigle contributes a diverse range of dynamic music, her message of acceptance, self-worth, and emotions articulated are not necessarily confined to worship as many songs could be referring to just about anyone and be relevant to not only a Christian fan base. Because “Daigle grew up enthralled by the music of iconic vocalists Celine Dion and Whitney Houston, and initially pursued a pop career,” it’s no surprise that Look Up Child’s Alternative upbeat waves and shift in vocal tones stray away from Christian traditional values and could easily be mistaken for worldly music. (Nicholson, 2018)

The album Look Up Child starts off with “Still Rolling Stones,” a thunderous tune that carries the pace soaring above How Can It Be. Though it may catch you off guard to to hear such a fresh focus in this album compared to How Can It Be, the unexpected beat strikes as attractive and limitless.

Many have deemed her strong lyrics and sharp vocals compare to that of singer, Adele with her song “Rolling in the Deep.” Daigle’s empowering lyrics, A dead man walking / Till love came calling / Rise up (rise up) / Rise up (rise up), doesn’t just bring hope and inspiration to those who support her, but her swaying orchestra speaks volumes and reveals her pure honesty.

She slows down the tempo with “Rescue” and “This Girl” but briskly jumps into “Your Wings,” which even incorporates reggaeton where she impersonates Zhavia Ward a hip-hop R&B artist.  The song resembles “Send Me Your Location” by Khalid where Daigle adjust to raspy vocals like that of Ward and similar beats that could fit right in on any music station.

Taking a step forward, Daigle takes a swing at the world with “You Say” with just the use of the piano and her delicate vocals that seeps into your brain. Though she took a chance when she wrote the songs for Look Up Child, Daigle’s “You Say” production of soul-searching lyrics transports you to tranquility and has a way of leaving a mark with its memorable sound form that many can connect with. Daigle “told people that fans have even credited the song with saving their lives.” (Butler, 2018)

She then sets a soothing melody with “Everything” proving her passion as a Christian artist. And yet, “Everything” does become repetitive and somber which defeats what Look Up Child is trying to establish. “Love Like This,” on the other hand, dives back into Christian Alternative and the impression of music being speckled with her clever phrases and refined arrangements. Although, “Look Up Child” may also be repetitive, the lyrics reach a wide range of listeners and her solid tone raises the bar. Her catchy beat and verses become validly relatable. Look Up Child” only adds to Daigle’s passion behind Contemporary Christian music where she reminds an audience to have faith when there is hardship and struggles.  She sings from her heart bringing her unique qualities all while being completely vulnerable.

Towards the latter half of the album, “Losing My Religion” turns to a conventional path on the road to an expansive direction. The title alone attracts attention as to where her faith lies and what audience she is aiming to please. She establishes an effective statement with this verse, I’ve been an actor on a stage/ Playing a role I have to play /. The word choice, living behind a mascaraed, narrows down to soul searching and seems to play a huge role of importance behind the meaning of this song. With every note she hits, Daigle executes grace, control, and her personality radiates through her, bringing the crowd to a silence. Where “Rebel Heart” and “Inevitable” contribute to doubt, fighting for acceptance, and surrendering, “Daigle writes without fearing judgement discovering her beliefs all over again.” (Jones, 2018)

Because Daigle made her name on Christian music, she wanted to stay true to her Christian fan base while also appealing to a wider audience. (Butler, 2018) The fact that Daigle’s music wasn’t confined exclusively to gospel stunning many listeners, her next album could possibly take a mainstream path, more so, she may make a complete cross over much like Amy Grant.  However, though Daigle explores her faith and her music is motivated by finding meaning and purpose with Look Up Child, she ends the album on a positive note with “Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” a clean and innocent song that confirms her Christianity remains a part of her life. While How Can It Be was conservative, Look Up Child conquered an electrifying vibe. And yet, Daigle was able to find balance not only on a religious ground but adding an edge and that extra oomph she was desperately seeking to poor out.

Work Cited

Butler, Bethonie. n.d. “Who Is Lauren Daigle, the Christian Artist Finding Success on the Mainstream Billboard Charts? – The Washington Post.” Accessed April 12, 2019.

Earls, Aaron. 2018. “Lauren Daigle Shocks Music Industry With Chart Topping Album.” Facts & Trends. September 27, 2018.

Jones, Emily. 2018. “Lauren Daigle Talks About ‘Losing Her Religion’ in New Album.” CBN News. September 5, 2018.

———. 2019. “Lauren Daigle Continues to Top the Charts – Uses Success for Biblical Cause.” CBN News. January 15, 2019.

Nicholson, Jessica. 2018. “Lauren Daigle Returns With Long-Awaited Album ‘Look Up Child.’” MusicRow – Nashville’s Music Industry Publication – News, Songs From Music City (blog). September 10, 2018.

“Snapshot.” n.d. Accessed April 12, 2019.

Wikipedia. 2019. “List of Number-One Billboard Christian Albums.” In Wikipedia.





“Stop Trying to be God” Travis Scott Already Is

        The song of the winter and fall has been “Sicko Mode”, a song featuring artist Travis Scott. Scott’s musical journey has taken him from R&B to trap and mumble rap, where he currently resides. Travis Scott is a young man hailing from Houston, Texas, born with the name Jaques Bermon Webster II. He was a strong student throughout his academic career and graduated at the age of 17, promptly being accepted into the University of Texas San Antonio. He was successful in his freshman year of college but ultimately decided to drop out his sophomore year in order to chase his dreams as a musician. He moved to New York City, promptly being cut off by his parents due to dropping out and moving away. In New York City, he joined two separate groups with friends, before moving to Los Angeles just four months after his move due to frustration. Upon moving to LA, he signed as a solo artist to Epic records in early 2012 but signed to G.O.O.D. Records, headed by Kanye West, in November of the same year. Scott notably writes his own music, playing a tremendous part in the production as well as being an artist. After several successful albums, Scott released his most recent album, Astroworld, on August 3, 2018. Travis Scott’s album Astroworld skillfully executes musical transitions, rhythm, and inclusion of other artists in order to develop a masterfully written piece.

        With any genre, the musical transitions allow for the musicality of any song to shine through. These transitions can stem anywhere from within a song to transitions between songs across the album. Travis Scott’s active participation in all songs on the album, allows him to skillfully use lyrics and beats to transition between different musical ideas within songs. For example, “Stargazing”, the album’s first song, begins with a slower beat in almost a hypnotic pace. Roughly halfway through the song, the beat picks up and creates a different sound within the song. Not only does he skillfully transition within songs, but there is also a notable lack of dead air between songs. Normally, albums have several seconds between different songs, but Astroworld lacks dead air between songs. The most notable lack of space is displayed between “Carousel” and “Sicko Mode”. “Carousel” transitions into the same beat that backs up “Sicko Mode”, causing the songs to roll into the other without there being an obvious beginning of the next song. This lack of dead space makes the album pleasing. With constant music, the songs are more enjoyable and not rough around the edges. The transitions between songs are often strong enough to go from mumble rap to a song that feels just like the title. This transition occurs between “Houstonfornication” and “Coffeebean”. The song “Houstonfornication” is a slower rap, the beat not as fast but heavily involved. Whereas “Coffeebean”, is a slow, rhythmic song. The stark contrast between the two songs allows Scott to develop multiple styles. Finally, Scott professionally transitions between songs in order to make sure that no two songs sound alike. “Yosemite” is a notable change of pace amidst several songs with heavy, driving beats. The song starts with a panflute riff, creating a peaceful beginning before the beat drops. The beat simply adds to the calm within the song. This softer song allows Scott to transition his songs skillfully, offering the reader more than one song style. Along with brilliant musical transitions, Scott utilizes rhythm in order to strengthen his music.

        Specific rhythmic features are the driving force of any genre. Trap music is most commonly characterized as highly rhythmic, driven by syncopated drum beats, and a dark or heavy ambiance. Scott commonly uses his lyrics or vocals in order to strengthen the heavily prominent beat in his music. Scott’s strong suit is the ability to transitions between songs and use beats to make them very different. For example, as previously mentioned with “Stargazing”, within a single song, there are two very distinct moods of the song. The beginning portion is darker, heavier. The beat may give the feeling of floating around in space as Scott uses the lyrics and beat to create a calm environment. During the second half, the beat picks up with a notable change in tempo. As stated previously with “Coffeebean”, the rhythm allows for a laid back, chill mood to be conveyed. When listening to the song, one may picture being in a quaint coffee shop as Scott is participating in a slam poetry contest in the corner of the room. The mood or ambiance of the song is strongly held in order to give it a coffee shop feel, much like its title. Then, in “Stop Trying to be God”, Scott has a smoother, hymnal feel to the track. The organ and harmonica in the background have a very similar sound as to what classical church music would be. The ability to bring in a familiar sound into the song adds to the irony of the song. Scott pleads with people to stop pretending that they are above God, meanwhile the instruments accompanying the lyrics strongly resemble church music. He even finishes the song with a hymnal sounding verse in order to let the name of the song shine through. Many of the songs successfully showcase Scott’s ability to choose rhythm in order to convey a certain emotion. Scott’s album perfectly exemplifies the goal of trap music in order to create a beautiful piece. Not only does Scott execute rhythm, but he includes various artists on each track in order to showcase his musical ability.

      The most enjoyable feature of Astroworld is the various artists incorporated on the album. Scott skillfully chooses artists from several different genres and fanbases in order to make the album pleasing to all audiences. The majority of the songs features an artist, whether they are popular or lesser-known. The second song on the album immediately features Frank Ocean, a popular alternative rhythm and blues artist. “Carousel” executes Frank Ocean’s musical ability by featuring him on each of the choruses, where his soulful and bluesy voice is showcased. Ocean’s presence allows Scott to have a musically different piece, where the verses are rap and the chorus and pre-chorus offer smoother tones. Then, “Stop Trying to be God” has the most surprising artist featured. Stevie Wonder is featured on the song, playing Harmonica throughout the majority of the song. Scott’s ability to collaborate with a legendary artist allows him to reach an even different crowd in the slower, soulful song. Wonder even participates in the outro with lesser known artists Phillip Bailey and James Blake. Blake also has a soulful verse at the very end of the song, where Scott skillfully adds a hymnal sound to the piece. Similarly, “Astrothunder” and “Skeletons” feature John Mayer, a pop singer with a soulful voice, and Tame Impala, a psychedelic rock group. The contrast in Scott and the featured artists’ genres allow Scott to showcase his ability to incorporate multiple genres within a single album. Scott does not only feature artists from other genres but has multiple songs with artists that have a similar style to him. The most notable feature being on “Who?What?” with Quavo. Quavo’s ability to reunite and collaborate with Scott once more showcases how strongly Scott’s music has impacted old friends. Scott also chose two up-and-coming artists, Juice WRLD and Sheck Wes, to be featured on “No Bystanders”. This collaboration is wholesome, as Scott allows for his fans to hear the voices of other artists that are climbing their way up the charts. He skillfully selects artists that can compliment his voice in order to make the album enjoyable for fans of any genre.

        Overall, Astroworld executes transitions, rhythm, and inclusion in order to create an interesting, well-written album. Trap music and mumble rap may not be for everyone, but Scott attempts to create multiple styles and flavors in order to ensure that there is something for everyone to enjoy in some fashion. Although I have never been a fan of trap music or Travis Scott, listening to Astroworld really did open my eyes to a genre that I had overlooked for so long. Trap as a genre is very interesting and musically intricate, making for an enjoyable experience. Scott’s ability to seamlessly create trap music is an extension of his musical ability, as he writes and produces his own music. The album brilliantly executes what trap music was meant to be along with many other styles to make a cohesive album enjoyable for anyone willing to give the album a listen.



Works Cited

Grand Hustle Records. (2018, August/September). Astroworld[Photograph].

Scott, Travis. Stop Trying to Be God (Official Music Video), YouTube, 6 Aug. 2018,

Travis Scott. Astroworld, Epic Records, 2018. Spotify

Review of Here’s to You

Montgomery Gentry’s album Here’s To You is an album that was released on February 2nd, 2018 and it grabs the attention of the listener from the very beginning. With a suspense sound for the beat of the first song.

Figure 1: Here’s to You. Great album to listen to no matter what mood you’re in.

The first song that I would like to mention is called “Shotgun Wedding.” I feel this song is a song that from the beat of the beginning grabs the attention of the listener. Mainly because of the picture the sound of the beat can create in the mind(s) of the listener(s). The song can also teach younger listeners on why you shouldn’t be fooling around if you’re not ready for a wedding or kids.

The next song that I would like to mention and talk about is a song called “Better Me.” This is a song that seemed to paint a picture in my mind of always trying to make something better and, how by that thing being improved can improve other people’s days. Basically, from how I’m understanding the song is to constantly make yourself a better person.


The second to last song I would like to talk about is called “Feet Back On The Ground.” This song paints a scenic picture of someone visiting their mother just after she finished cooking a pie. Then catching up with each other and talking about how everything is going. Instead of being in a rush all the time sometimes we just need to slow down. Basically what the song describes is to not always be in a rush and needing to slow down and take your time and to enjoy what little bit of time you have left on earth. And looking back on your life is another way I could describe this song.

The final song I would like to talk about is the song called “That’s The Thing About America.”  This song creates a picture like a house by an open field with children playing in the yard and then they go inside for a meal. The song also hits me as a song that really describes what America should be like. ‘“That’s The Thing About America” celebrates all the great things that are present in America and grounded in the patriotism that has permeated Eddie and Troy’s music through the years.”’ Says Roughstock.

Works Cited

Average Joes Entertainment. “Needing A Beer – YouTube.” Youtube.Com, 14 Apr. 2018,, Roughstock-. “Album Review: Montgomery Gentry – ‘Here’s To You.’” RoughStock, 3 Feb. 2018,


Catfish and the Bottlemen – Making Grumpy Sound so Good

Lorynn Hackert



10 April 2019

Catfish and the Bottlemen – Making Grumpy Sound So Good, One Record at a Time

Image result for catfish and the bottlemen the balcony
Catfish and the Bottlemen’s debut album, ‘The Balcony.’

Catfish and the Bottlemen, a gang of young angsty Welshmen, belong to a genre that falls between the lines of rock and roll and indie alternative. With their debut album, The Balcony, the group delivers an impressive introduction into the musical world with anthemic songs such as ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Kathleen,’ both holding chorus’ that could rattle any arena. Still grasping this torch, Catfish and the Bottlemen expand further into their musical flexibility in their second studio album, The Ride. With the inclusion of intimate ballads that highlight heartbreak, along with requiems that allow listeners to let go and look forward, this budding band is beginning to compare to their inspiration, Oasis. The Ride incorporates a mix of heavy electric and acoustic guitar, chaotic drums that replicate the beat of your heart while listening to the record, along with lyrics that can make any sunny afternoon turn grey. This album will make you feel as if you have woken up in London the day after you lost a lover, missed the Tube to work, and are now following the wet English pavement to wherever it may lead you.

Image result for the ride catfish and the bottlemen
Cover of Catfish and the Bottlemen’s second studio album, ‘The Ride.’

This album is brooding. Beautifully dark. It has entered it’s teenage years. Catfish and the Bottlemen’s frontman and songwriter, Van McCann, commands, “Larry, call a load of smoke in / I wanna disappear for days” in the opening track ‘7,’ subtly highlighting the fact that he is unhappy in what has been handed to him.  ‘Oxygen’ leaves McCann entranced, yet confused, by a love interest who “tends to obfuscate when it’s black and white,” while “she puts love in the back of her mind / and rips it out again when she’s back at mine.” McCann’s lyrical world revolves around a life filled with nights crawling from pub to pub, picking up girls, and performing. The music is edgy, and this same energy carries over into acoustic melodies on the album, in songs such as ‘Glasgow’ and ‘Heathrow.’

Van McCann, songwriter and lead vocals for Catfish and the Bottlemen, performing for a Glastonbury crowd.

Van McCann not only appeals to his audience lyrically, but he is able to further impress listeners with his vocal sound. Due to the genre of music the band belongs to, it is no surprise that McCann’s voice holds the same raspiness seen in those who have smoked a pack of Marlboro’s daily for the greater part of their life. Despite this, he is able to revert to a place in his range that is delicate and soft, only emphasized in quieter moments within the record. During the band’s live performances, McCann will often take an opportunity to showcase his vocal talents by singing a section of song without backing instrumentals from his fellow band mates. In times where he is overtaken by the energy of the crowd, McCann will divert his focus on playing his guitar in order to move on stage, toy with the mic stand, or encourage the audience to move a certain way. As far as the band’s overall stage presence, it is something that is yet to be considered unique or memorable. They are purely just performing their music.

The band’s use of instruments dances along the line of special and ordinary.  Catfish and the Bottlemen stick to the basics – guitar, bass, and drums. Although the band has chosen to work with foundational instruments, this does not stop them from creating exciting music. Throughout both The Balcony and The Ride, Catfish and the Bottlemen make a point to include electric guitar riffs wherever they are able to fit them. Although some listeners may find these riffs to be overkill, many consider it something that the band will be eventually remembered for. The use of the acoustic guitar is something that was absent on the band’s debut album that they decided to introduce in The Ride. Acoustic guitar has allowed Catfish and the Bottlemen to create ballads that touch on self-doubt as well as romantic heartbreak. Although they are acoustic ballads, they still harbor great energy, but at a softer and slower pace. When looking at the band’s instrumental musicality as a whole, they are able to produce an intentionally chaotic sound, along with unhurried emotional melodies, with the use of basic instruments that will make any audience want to throw their hands up and dance.

With The Ride, Catfish and the Bottlemen have proven that they are not only musically and lyrically talented, but they are also well versed in the art of pouting. A factor that may potentially add to the overall mood of The Ride is the influence from English band, Oasis. Catfish and the Bottlemen consistently refer to Oasis as a group that has inspired their sound. Although Catfish and the Bottlemen is surely capable of  turning their grumpiness into snappy, honest music. Many argue that the band has yet to create a tune that holds the same comparable catchiness, as Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ or ‘Live Forever.’ It is undeniable that as the band blooms, they continue to take the necessary steps to create a song that will be known as a bona fide classic around the world.

Cover of Catfish and the Bottlemen’s third album, ‘The Balance.’

The next big thing for Catfish and the Bottlemen is the release of their third studio album, The Balance, dropping on April 26th of this year (2019.) Many speculate that this album will be a product of the band’s perfected sound, which they had explored in their previous albums. When considering both Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Ride, there is a single characteristic that distinguishes them from other artists and albums from their genre — they are genuine. They are completely confident with the music they create, their sound, and outward appearance. Through their impressive instrumental musicality and use of storytelling lyrics, The Ride will make it’s listeners feel something in a world that too often feels numb. Catfish and the Bottlemen lead by the beat they create, and accept those who follow.


Works Cited

Safar, David. “Album Review: Catfish and the Bottlemen, ‘The Balcony’.” The Current, 12 Jan. 2015,

Stubbs, Dan. “Catfish & The Bottlemen’s Glastonbury Crowd Boos Mention of Kanye West’s Name.” NME, NME, 25 July 2016,

“The Ride by Catfish and the Bottlemen.” Genius, 27 May 2016, 

Whelan, Addie, et al. “Catfish and the Bottlemen Release ‘The Balance’ Album Details.” Beyond The Stage Magazine, 26 Jan. 2019,




Pulling Weval’s Weight

Alex Pearson

Professor John Wolff

English Comp 1

04 April 2019

People from all walks of life listen to all kinds of different music. Music speaks to us in many ways, and we all get something different out of it. For those that like electronic or dance music, here is an album for you. The two talented musicians from the Netherlands Harm Coolen and Merijn Scholte Abers started the group Weval.

They mix sounds from a soundboard and instruments to create this electronic/dance music. They are not the only ones making this type of music. One of the more popular and closer related artists to Weval is the Brazilian Gui Boratto. Gui Boratto has some experience as he has been making music since 1994. Weval has been making this electronic dance music since 2013. The style of Weval’s music in their latest album,
The Weight, has the listener engaged and tense through unique, well-crafted beats and sounds; some of which are beautiful and pleasant and others are rigid and rough.

Image result for the weight weval
Album cover for “The Weight

In March of 2019, Weval came out with The Weight, their third full album. This album is one of the most unique ones I have listened to. Throughout the album, the artists create a lasting tension that is repressed by neatly flowing tunes which present themselves in multiple parts. While listening to the songs, I have noticed that the listener has no idea of where Weval wants to lead them. For example, in “Look Around” there are at least three tempo changes that cause confusion. This is because the listener will fall in love with one of the changes, and then soon it changes, leaving behind the listener. Because of this, every time I listen to it, I have tuned into something that was eluding me the time before.

The lyrics of most songs in the playlist also create tension. As an instinct, when a person hears a song, they will try to understand what the lyrics are saying. In The Weight, the lyrics ride the fence of being understood. The electronic overlay that coats each set of lyrics causes tension within the listener as he or she tries to decipher them.

In addition to the tension that the lyrics bring to the songs, they also serve as another sound that would have the same purpose as an instrument. This is a less common way to use the words and that is one of the main reasons why Weval is so unique.

The sounds that are used in developing these songs are used in other artists’ songs, but the effect they instill is different. Underlying most tracks of the album are calm and melodic beats that wrestle with some of the crazier tunes. This calming sensation is caused by sounds that are mainly organ-like and steady. The steady change in tone or pitch that rises and falls like the mercury in a thermometer—smoothly and slowly.

The two best examples of songs that have this calming effect are “Heartbreak Television” and “Who’s Running Who.” The background music of these two songs is very similar. The sounds that make up the music are wonderfully constructed, well thought out, and relieve stress. Unfortunately, “Heartbreak Television” has awful foreground lyrics that sound like a dying animal at certain times in the piece of music. But thankfully, that is not the case with the last song in the album, “Who’s Running Who.” In this song, the lyrics and the computer-generated music complement each other to create cohesiveness, and the lyrics don’t mess up the flow of music.

There is also another type of cohesiveness that is found in the second song, “Roll Together.” In this song, there is an electronically produced sound that holds the song together from the beginning to the end. It is marked by gradual changes in pitch that bind it. On the other hand, “Someday” has many sounds that are in conflict with each other. Half of the sounds have a calming effect while the other half of the sounds does the opposite. About half the lyrics are decipherable while the other half is not decipherable. The second part that is non-decipherable is the part that holds the conflict. This depends on how the listener interprets the lyrics. For example, Weval may mention something in the lyrics about dying, yet maybe not (more conflict).

All of the songs seem to be a part of the album in some way or another.
The whole album plays with human emotions. Some songs increase endorphin levels and other songs increase the cortisol levels in the body. One of the best examples of a cortisol-increasing song is “Heaven, Listen.” With no real structure or path that the song should follow, the purpose of this song is to create more conflict and stress within the listener that would get replaced by the happiness hormones, endorphins, later in the album.

The style of Weval is unique. Their songs are rich with splendor, and at the same time, rough and ridged. When I first listened to the album, I did not enjoy the songs because the sounds Weval made were so unique. As I continued to listen to them, the new sounds began to grow on me and I started to appreciate them more. If you have listened to Gui Boratto in the past or happen to like music in the electronica genre, I suggest you listen to the album. If you don’t like it during the first time you listen to it, I challenge you to listen to The Weight two more times. Most likely, you will learn to enjoy the well-crafted beats and sounds as I did.


Works Cited

Weval. “Roll Together.” The Weight. Kompakt Records, 2019. Accessed 12 April 2019.

Weval. “Look Around.” The Weight. Kompakt Records, 2019. Accessed 12 April 2019.

Weval. “Someday.” The Weight. Kompakt Records, 2019. Accessed 12 April 2019.

Weval. “Heartbreak Television.” The Weight. Kompakt Records, 2019. Accessed 12 April 2019.

Weval. “Who’s Running Who.” The Weight. Kompakt Records, 2019. Accessed 12 April 2019.

Weval. “Heaven, Listen.” The Weight. Kompakt Records, 2019. Accessed 12 April 2019.

3voor12. “Weval-Live at 3voor12 Radio.” Figure 1. Accessed 12 April 2019.

Rezz’s Certain Kind Of Magic Music Review

Kaleigh Kamaloski

Prof. John Wolff


4 April 2019

Certain Kind of Rezz

Isabelle Rezazadeh, better known as Rezz, released her album Certain Kind of Magic only a short year after the release of Juno Awards best electronic album of the year in 2018, Mass Manipulation. The Canadian DJ began her career at the age of sixteen, inspired by Deadmau5 to create music of her own. She attended festivals for artists such as Bass Nectar, Pretty Lights, and Zeds Dead to spark her own creativity in electronic music. In 2016, her second EP released reached #19 on the top billboard chart. With only two official albums out there, Certain Kind of Magic is definitely holding up a solid name for Rezz as she continues to create more and more beats for Deadmau5’s record label, Mau5trap.

The sophomore album clocks in with eight tracks and promotes collaborations with 1788-L, Deathpact, and Kotek. These collaborations are not what holds up the strength of the album, though. Rezz is perfectly independent and expresses her own originality and quality, making this album sound like a breakthrough if a person didn’t know her career before listening. Certain Kind of Magic brings its own fresh energy that her fans, known as “The Cult”, have come to love. The album shows off a new and addicting realm of bass-meets-techno that Rezz has not created before.

Each track brings a new and rejuvenating flavor to Certain Kind of Magic. While the techno-vibe music all seems to blend together in my head, each song is a new experience each time I listen to it. “Witching Hour”, the first single of the album, definitely incorporates some gritty bass and seems to have a mysterious, lurking undertone to it. “Flying Octopus” begins with a child-like xylophone melody that leads into more of a zippy, techy beat. To me, it sounds like the soundtrack that would play while flying through the galaxy in a spaceship while avoiding missiles being shot at you. The tune transitions through the space battle through simple yet repetitive background melodies that blend both techno and electronic sounds. While not everyone may enjoy it as an everyday drive to work song, it definitely brings diversity to whatever you may be listening to. Another appealing track, “Spider On The Moon”, sounds like the final song being played at the alien techno club on a Friday night. While the tune is short, it goes from being a laser gun shoot out to a trench through a mysterious cave on LSD. Mysterious zaps and an eery high pitch undertone blend together a slightly minor tone that is only heard in few other songs on the album. Scattered throughout the end, the wind chimes can even be heard faintly in the background a couple of times, which I found very neat. “Toxin” has to be my favorite of the album, a collaboration with Fytch that actually incorporates more lyrics than electronics beeps all over the place. The lyrics “I just can’t take you no more” and “you drag me down” speak to the title, implying that this person being spoken of is a toxin. I like the calm vibe to the song and the fact that there is more of a structure, such as a chorus with verses.

“Toxin” does a good job of blending Rezz’s electronic taste with a more subtle, soft lullaby with a deeper meaning, which I appreciated. Electronic music typically does not incorporate many lyrics or meanings behind it, and Rezz does not stray away from this trend. Aside from “toxin”, no song has more than a few words scattered throughout. I feel that by using “Toxin” as the last track to the album, Rezz did a good job of incorporating something new and exciting that blends well with the rest of the tracks while also ending with on a positive note. As if to say, who knows what in store for Rezz’s future collaborations or style of music, and definitely makes me wonder (and hope) as a listener if she will continue to collab with other artists to incorporate these foreign styles to her musical portfolio. Lyrics in a Rezz song are a definite yes from me, keep it coming, Rezz!

Through the changes of tone, from cyborg attack to discovering the depths of the sea in a submarine, Rezz keeps each track just the right amount of excitement to the point where listeners don’t get bored and also don’t get too overwhelmed. Overall, as a non-usual Rezz listener, I can definitely say that this album is not for everybody after listening to it. I enjoyed listening to the different depths of music that Rezz creates through a variety of bass, electronic sounds, and energizing melodies. This assuringly will not be the last hit album from Rezz, as it is only her second and her work is increasingly rising on the charts. The self-made artist has many places to go in her career and is founded by the fact that she has carried herself so far already. Even if electronic and techno music isn’t your forte, Rezz made a hit off Certain Kind Of Magic and it’s a sound you will only hear on this album. While I originally am not a huge fan of Rezz’s style of music, I absolutely suggest this album to anyone looking to broaden their playlist. Whether it be working out, studying, or even just driving to school, Rezz’s Certain Kind Of Magic will bring you to an interesting, almost hypnotizing, new dimension that I promise you’ve never heard of before.

Works Cited

Mau5trap. “Flying Octopus” Youtube, 5 December 2018,

Rezz. Certain Kind Of Magic, Mau5trap, 2018. Spotify,


Vance Joy: More Than a One Hit Wonder (Jonah Scouten Music Review Essay)

Jonah Scouten

John Wolff

English Comp 1

18 March 2019

          When Vance Joy, the brand new indie pop and folk songwriter, released his five-song debut EP, God Loves You When You’re Dancing in 2013, he never expected that one of his songs, “Riptide,” would be such a hit that it persisted on the ARIA Chart top 100 songs for over 107 weeks (Brandle, 2015). This massive success allowed Vance to release his full album in 2014, Dream Your Life Away, which includes “Riptide” and “From Afar” from his EP along with 11 new originals. Similarly to the EP, Dream Your Life Away follows an indie folk theme akin to Fleet Foxes, with a soothing batch of instruments and prominent vocals that perfectly fit a long road trip or an evening snuggled up in a blanket by the fireplace. But after all of his sudden success from “Riptide,” does Dream Your Life Away live up to the hype? Is it even worth buying? Vance Joy’s album Dream Your Life Away is, in fact, a fantastic album as it effectively uses the placing and pace of its songs to affect the listener’s emotions, while its spare, yet energetic instrumentals let the audience focus on Joy’s powerful lyrics.

Vance Joy.

Dream Your Life Away does something that not many other artists are able to do well nowadays, it really makes you feel. His songs perfectly embody emotions of comfort, loss, sadness, and regret. Dream Your Life Away’s very first song, “Winds of Change” immediately sets the level of excellence for the rest of the album as Joy uses very soft strums of his guitar that evokes a homesick feeling, a shaker to keep the beat that nearly forces you to tap your foot alongside it, and the soft lull of a trumpet in the background that makes the whole piece flow and feel smooth. By the end of the song I just wanted to go on a long road trip with the people in my life that I am close with and never let them go. The next song in the album, “Mess is Mine” uses just about the very same instruments as the previous song, allowing for a very smooth transition from song to song, which is what Joy intended. While “Winds of Change” leaves the listeners with that homesick feeling, “Mess is Mine” ups the speed and volume of the guitar and percussion to make the audience feel at home, giving the album a strong and satisfying start. The album sets up for another strong connection with the third and fourth songs, “Wasted Time” and “Riptide.” “Wasted Time” starts off with similar instruments, but it is obvious that there are some more string instruments present, which both connect to the previous songs with the guitar but also makes it different. As the song goes on, it speeds up and slows down at certain points until it hits the end of the song at a speed in the middle. “Riptide” begins at the exact same speed, easily connecting it to the previous song. The rest of the album follows a similar format where each of the songs has similar instruments but their own unique and interesting take on said instruments.

          This allows Joy to not have to use a large collection of instruments, but instead use a collection of interesting instruments that he builds upon over the album. Like in “Riptide,” Joy started the craze of the ukulele by having it be the most prominent instrument in the song when before it was an instrument that was not used very often. Joy used the ukulele for its association with Hawaiian culture, which  correlates with the gorgeous beaches in the Hawaiian islands, which has obvious ties with the title of the song, “Riptide.” Joy makes sure to put a lot of time and effort in each and every one of his songs, as “Riptide” was over 5 years in the making before it was published. This effort is even more obvious with the actual most prominent instrument in his songs, his own vocals. Joy has a very appealing and soothing voice that he uses to evoke all kinds of emotions, all the way from sadness and grief to happiness and contentedness. Joy manages to perfectly sew his voice and the other instruments together that doesn’t take the listeners out of the music and also allows enjoyment without even having to pay attention to the lyrics. But Joy does want the audience to hear his words, and due to the few amounts of instruments Joy employs, the listeners are encouraged to pay attention. And Joy’s lyrics are really what make the songs stand out. While the instruments like guitars and drums get the listener caught on hooks, the actual meanings behind the songs are what make them really pop. In “Red Eye,” the slow melodious strumming of the guitar gets the listener enticed into listening to the song over and over again, and the seemingly happy tone of the song quickly turns to bittersweet when the audience pays attention to the lyrics. The song is truly about a relationship in which a boy keeps trying to please a girl but is afraid that she will leave him, as he is going through a dark time in his life that he needs someone else to “hold up a candle” while he is “stumbling in the dark.” Every single one of Joy’s songs employs this format in different ways that allow the audience to notice different things each and every time they listen to the song.

          Vance Joy, with his slim but powerful instruments that draw its audience in and highlights the meaningful vocals of the song, has successfully transformed himself from a ‘one-hit wonder’ to an artist with an album nearly as good or even better than his major hit with “Riptide.” Joy never let all of the success go to his head and instead focused his time on creating a great album, with many great tracks to enjoy over and over again. While Joy may have a lot of competition from other composers, he has already placed himself on the map of the indie pop and folk world with “Riptide” and now a full album to collect a slew of his work. I would rate this album a B+ and I look forward to his work in the future where he might cover more topics with his catchy instrumental and his meaningful lyrics, and maybe even hit another ARIA Chart record.







Works Cited

Brandle, Lars. “Vance Joy’s ‘Riptide’ Sets a Chart Record in Australia.”  Billboard, 11 May 2015,

Joy, Vance. “Vance Joy.”, Atlantic Records,

The Wondrous Works of Pentatonix

Rylee Cregg

Professor John Wolff

English Composition 1

19 March 2019

The Wonderous Works of  Pentatonix

A cappella pop group, Pentatonix, has caught the eye of millions of fans with their own twist of music presentation. The eye-catching Pentatonix Album (2015) has made headlines across music listeners everywhere. As the Pentatonix group mesmerizes their audience, they successfully incorporate their own twist of style, pathos, and melody in order to win over their listeners.

The original group members – Kristie, Mitch, and Scott – were looking for two more members to complete audition requirements for NBC’s The Sing-off. After Adding two new members, the name Pentatonix was born. Since Pentatonic is a musical scale with five notes per octave, Pentatonix was a perfect fit for the newly formed group of five. Throughout The Sing-off, they proved themselves worthy of winning the entire competition. This was the start of their career. According to Collar, the artists went on to win multiple Grammy awards, be in top ten albums, and have worldwide fame. Pentatonix sings everything from Haleluigh to Bohemian Rhapsody all in a cappella. They have also created new songs in their Pentatonix Album (2015) including First Things First, Light in the Hallway, and Rose Gold. Their recent album has thirteen originals making it the most originals of any album of Pentatonix.

Compared to other artists, Pentatonix has a unique spin of style in their music. Harmony, for example, can be heard in many of their songs. In the song Cheerleader, harmonies are placed in the bridge and on the chorus. They allow the song to have more of a “ring” or appeal to the listener. Harmonies also draw focus on the main point of the song that the writer wants to emphasize. Originally in the song Cheerleader, there are no harmonies. When the same melodies are played over and over, the song gets old- fast. Pentatonix puts a nice spin on this song, turning dull music into enjoyable music. Another reason their style is unique is simply because of their a cappella. In the song First Things First, the bass voice for the background beat is flawless. The bass voice can be mistakenly heard for an instrument. This level of professionalism sets Pentatonix apart from other bands who are not at that level.

Pathos is incorporated into their album to reach their listeners. For example; Light in the Hallway, states; “If you’re scared of the darkness, I will calm your fear. There’s a light in the hallway, so you know I”m here.” These lyrics may bring comfort to those who may have lost someone. Pentatonix reaches the audience’s emotions by connecting personally to their listeners. In the song Rose Gold, Pentatonix uses a simile. For example; “Like a map, story of our lives couldn’t fit in only black and white.” The artists compare one’s life to a journey on a map. Using pathos such as similies help the listener to visualize and connect information to their own experiences.

Pentatonix has a catchy melody to many songs. In the song Light in the Hallway, there is a melodious shape to the chorus which helps with an easy flow (The Producer Kit). The lyrics “Count your blessings every day. It makes the monsters go away.” Notes ascending through “blessings” and descending through “every day” can found in the first sentence. Light in the Hallway also has a nice structure. Starting off with verse one followed by the bridge and chorus, it then repeats this sequence. Balance to the song helps the listener understand the melody and what comes next. A melodious and well-balanced song contributed to the flow making it catchy to the listener.

Known as an outstanding a cappella group, Pentatonix has its own unique spin when it comes to music. Starting off with very little, the group has grown to be one of the most famous a cappella groups in the world. Singing a wide variety of music, they incorporate unique style, pathos, and memorable melodies into their wondrous works of music.


Work Cited

Collar, Matt. AllMusic, 2019,

The Producer Kit, 11 July 2017,



The Sound of Music in My Ears

Tyra Bromley

John Wolff

English Composition I

April 12, 2019

The first of his albums, For Emma, Forever Ago, brought in much more attention than Justin Vernon could have anticipated. It was originally published as its own album, but stood out too much which lead to the creation of the band Bon Iver (“Bon Iver”). Bon Iver is a band that plays indie folk music, and it’s first set of songs have an interesting origin story on how they were created. The artist Justin Vernon was the one who made the songs in For Emma, Forever Ago (“For Emma by Bon Iver”). It all started when he decided he needed a break away from the world and went into isolation for a few months (“For Emma by Bon Iver”). During this time he stayed in his dad’s cabin in the woods as he sorted out his mind, and that’s where he realized he had some past experiences he had to move on from (“For Emma by Bon Iver”). These past experiences ended up becoming nine songs describing his emotions as he moved past his problems. Overall, Bon Iver’s album, For Emma, Forever Ago, has a natural calm beat that paints Justin Vernon’s thoughts while in isolation, and later on in their career, this group makes more albums that leave an even bigger impact on its listeners.

Throughout this album, the calm beat walks the listener through the woods with the thought of past memories as they fade away with acceptance. The songs don’t hold any trace of the city life, but rather of raw nature just as their album cover shows. It’s the type of music people would listen to while moving forward in life. Each song has traces of each other embedded in themselves, but each song has its own overall emotional focus from one another. However, unlike his other songs, “Skinny Love” seems to bring in more attention. This song ended up being so popular that a British singer named Birdy even re-published it in her own album (“Skinny Love”). Along with that this song has made appearances on television shows and was even considered song number 21 in Australia for awhile (“Skinny Love”). This song is about one of his past relationships, however it’s not the person who is the focus of the song but rather why Vernon was in a relationship that didn’t work out (“Skinny Love”). His other songs have a nice flow of a small stream whereas “Skinny Love” has the sharp turns of a river when he says, “I told you to be patient/ I told you to be fine/ I told you to be balanced/ I told you to be kind” which is repeated again later on in the song (“Bon Iver – Skinny Love”). These words hold a different emotion that the others lack, anger, which makes it pop out even more. Also, unlike his other songs, “Skinny Love” lyrics can be easily understood. In his other songs it’s hard to decipher what words he is saying, but this only adds to the charm of the music. His lyric writing process it different than others who would start with the lyrics then find the right beat. What Vernon did was he made the music, listen to it, write down words that came to mind, then organized the lyrics, and lastly did an overlapping effect with just his voice (“Bon Iver”). By doing all of this he turned his voice into an instrument that completed his music (The Gryphon Web Editor, 2017). While performing, his band doesn’t stand out much. Just like his music their appearance reflect a common natural feel, almost as if they could be seen anywhere without a second glance (“Bon Iver For Emma @ Pitchfork festival Paris 2011”). This adds to the, “this is a common feeling people have” type of vibe his music gives off, like in their performance in Pitchfork festival Paris.

Overall, Justin Vernon’s music that begins as a project ended up becoming popular. With its unique creation and the new style of lyrics it made its impact on its listeners. This great start also helped Bon Iver other albums become a great hit, like Bon Iver, Bon Iver (“Bon Iver”). Yet in the end nothing can top For Emma, Forever Ago’s calm natural beat that’ll guild people on through their problems.

Works Cited

“Skinny Love”. Wikipedia, 2019, Accessed 3 April. 2019.

“For Emma by Bon Iver”. Songfacts, 2019, Accessed 3 April. 2019.

“Bon Iver – Skinny Love Lyrics”. Genius Lyrics, 2019, Accessed 3 April. 2019.

The Gryphon Web Editor, “For Emma, Forever Ago – A Retrospective”. The Gryphon, 2017, Accessed 3 April. 2019.

“Bon Iver”. Wikipedia, 2019, Accessed 3 April.

“Bon Iver For Emma @ Pitchfork festival Paris 2011”. Youtube, 2011, Accessed 3 April. 2019.

Are You ‘Brave Enough?’

Jael Wood

Professor John Wolff

ENG 111-41

2 April 2019

Are You ‘Brave Enough?’

Lindsey Stirling’s album Brave Enough piques the ear towards a sound that is like nothing you have ever heard before. Through captivating melodies and riveting tension in her songs, Stirling presents her musical talents with her violin, electronica, and dubstep. Brave Enough is much like previous albums; including similar instruments and featuring famous artists. Most of Stirling’s albums tend to have the same style and instrumentals. However, Brave Enough carries a slightly unique message of being brave and strong in a struggle. Songs like “The Arena” and “Brave Enough” present stories that are as intense as The Pirates of the Caribbean. Additionally, the highs and lows of these songs make the listener want to hear more. The artist accomplishes this task by using three different genres of music. Lindsey Stirling’s album Brave Enough combines classical violin, electronica, and dubstep to create a unique piece of art.

Brave Enough takes on a special sound that appeals to the human ear. Ranging from the clear-cut high points to the low registers of the violin in each song, this album is interesting and dynamic. Through listening to this song in a variety of settings, I have found that Brave Enough is the perfect album to listen to while working out and studying. Although this combination may seem odd, the fast-pace flow of the songs push me to work harder and stay focused as if I am attempting to accomplish a spectacular feat such as climbing a mountain. Furthermore, the notes of each song that are plucked on the classical violin make me feel as though I am dancing along on hot coals. My feet barely touch the heat before they bounce up again.

Although all of the songs in Brave Enough are composed beautifully, “Brave Enough” and “The Arena” stand out in their own way. “Brave Enough” is a song that takes on the name of the album in a way that shows the listener a different side of Lindsey Stirling. Also, the tone of the music and the style choice within each individual component of the song reflects its name. In fact, one line says, “I wish I was brave enough to love you.” Within this lyric is a struggle that is clearly seen inside a person. On the other hand, “The Arena” is a song that in every way portrays bravery and strength while a battle is raging.

The Arena,” released June 28, 2016 (The Arena), is a dance in time. It reflects what happens in an arena: the stand-off, fighting, strategy, and the tension in the air that is revealed through the highs and lows. Each moment of climax counteracts the quieter tones in the song through powerful instruments joined together in a perfect melody; almost like the sound of the crickets on the shore and the wind and waves that converge with a force that moves whatever comes their way. Every dynamic builds on each other in a way that makes the song flow with ease. Although the song is much like others in the album, it stands out on its own in a unique way. As a result, it is effective in appealing to the listener’s ear. Just as the dynamics of Stirling’s songs compliment her music, so do the lyrics.

The limited amount of lyrics in Brave Enough allows for the listener to creatively imagine what would be said throughout each song. Practically speaking, a lack of words allows the album to be listened to while working, dancing, and exercising without being distracted by wanting to sing along. On top of that, the fast tempo makes you want to work faster and stay focused in order to accomplish your task. These things combined, Brave Enough is the perfect album to listen to in order to get the job done.

Figure 1: Lindsey Stirling dancing. Accessed April 10, 2019.

On another note, Stirling has a unique talent that is displayed in her music videos: dancing while playing the violin. As each sound flows out of her violin, Stirling’s body flows to the beat of the music with poise. Ballet, it seems, is her most common form of dance. While her bow caresses the strings to emit an extraordinary sound, Stirling swings round and round with freedom in her step. I have never before seen an artist incorporate these two arts into one complimentary form of art.

The distinctive songs of Brave Enough are a result of combining violin, electronica, and dubstep. As you can imagine, the violin falls under the category of a classical musical instrument (“Instruments of the Orchestra”). Electronica and dubstep, however, are very different from the violin. By definition, electronica is “a broad group of electronic-based styles such as techno, house, ambient, jungle and other electronic music styles”(“Electronica”). Dubstep is much like electronica, made up of “sparse, syncopated rhythmic patterns with massive wobbly basslines that contain prominent sub-bass frequencies and epic gigantic breakdowns”(“Dubstep”). As opposed to performing with an orchestra like Sarah Chang (Sarah Chang), Stirling combines electronica and dubstep with her violin to create fresh new tones.

I imagine that Lindsey Stirling’s next album will be much like Brave Enough and previous albums in style. However, she will most likely incorporate a new twist to the album by way of additional instruments or featured artists. Stirling is like no other artist in this genre, taking on a different style and voice than Sarah Chang. She has a brave uniqueness that is expressed with poise and grace. Stirling blends her classical violin with electronica and dubstep, extending her voice as something that must be heard. I urge you to hear her voice; to be brave enough to listen to her album Brave Enough.

Works Cited

About – Lindsey Stirling. Accessed 18 Mar. 2019.

Amanda Moutinho. “Lindsey Stirling Is ‘Brave Enough.’” Boulder Weekly, 29 Sept. 2016,

Brave Enough – Wikipedia. Accessed 18 Mar. 2019.

“Dubstep.” Wikipedia, 15 Mar. 2019. Wikipedia,

“Electronica.” Wikipedia, 5 Mar. 2019. Wikipedia,

“Instruments of the Orchestra.” Arapahoe Philharmonic, Accessed 2 Apr. 2019.

Lindsey Stirling. The Arena – Lindsey Stirling. YouTube, Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.

Sarah Chang » Biography. Accessed 2 Apr. 2019.

The Arena (Song) | Lindsey Stirling Wikia | FANDOM Powered by Wikia. Accessed 2 Apr. 2019.