LSS: The World from the Side of The Moon, Phillip Phillips

Several months after winning the eleventh season of American Idol, Phillip Phillips releases his debut record entitled ‘The World from the Side of The Moon’.

Looking back on his track record during the run of AI, Phillip has consistently showed promise and individuality week after week. He is the anti-thesis of the cookie cutter reality show pop star. Defiant, unique and unexpected. I must admit that I was rooting for him (and Elise Testone) because of the uniqueness they have in their sound. Phillips has had quite a few performances on the show that has made him miles ahead of the competition.

His inevitable win last May was only made sweeter by arguably one of the best coronation Idol song in a long time, ‘Home’. Gone were the seasons when the winner sings a very inspirational song which tells everybody to dream and whatnot. Well, I think Kris Allen was the last Idol winner to have one of those “empowering” songs to accompany his win. I think it’s a wise move, actually, especially now that other than a dream, an internet connection is very important if you want to be famous.

In the past three AI seasons (which nobody really remembers), the winners sing their potential single. Whatever happened to the past few WGWG singles, nobody knows. But with ‘Home’, Idol became relevant again. With it’s hip folk touch and Phillips raspy voice, one can say that Idol is finally back on track.

But strip the competition and comparisons down, how does Phillips’ ‘The World from the Side of The Moon’ stand?

After listening to the whole album on end for a couple of times, it is undeniable that Phillip is really going on to drive his sound as an individual across. Having written and co-written most of the tracks, it gave PP the freedom to express his artistry. But for me, I think he has either hit or miss on some of the tracks. The opening song, “Man on The Moon” for example really sets the mood and shows the sound of Phillips. The songs “Gone, Gone, Gone” and “Where We Came From” follow suit on this showcase of diversity. The more upbeat tracks “Get Up Get Down” and “Drive Me” remind me of his more outstanding performances on Idol with their sing-along and groovy qualities. But his more emotional songs “Wanted is Love” and “A Fool’s Dance” feel a bit flat for me. But my favorite track on the album has got to be “So Easy” because, well, it’s just so easy to listen to.

All in all, I think Phillip’s debut record is not bad at all. I like his lyrics because he writes in such a way that it sounds raw, yet poetic. Does he sound better now than when he was competing in Idol? Yes. Because he now has a certain level of comfort that he might not have when he was performing others’ songs. Does he stand out as much as he did on the competition? Probably not as much but still not too bad for a unique sounding guy.

Advertisements

The Old and The Independent: Songs I Listen To

Well, I’m not really rebelling against mainstream music nowadays (although there are really several reasons to do otherwise). I still listen to Maroon 5, Adele, Drake, Sara Bareilles, Coldplay, Jason Mraz, to name a few. It’s just that I realized that there were and are better options out there, music being an infinite ocean of possibilities and genres. So I figured, if my generation serves me types of music I don’t really like, might as well go sail on oceans previously sailed on, and oceans rarely navigated on.

So with a little help of curiosity and flaky internet connection and some help from some people, I can say that I have set sail successfully on some new and some old oceans of music.

SKINNY LOVE – Bon Iver

Justin Vernon, vocalist of Bon Iver has a very distinct style and sound to back his good lyrics. And among his songs – Holocene, For Emma, Forever Ago and his rendition of I Can’t Make You Love Me- Skinny Love is probably the catchiest. Vernon’s ball breaking falsetto and it’s very catchy chorus made Skinny Love a song that is hard not to like.

(Singer Birdy made a piano cover of this song, making it less ball breaking, more heart breaking.)

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind

THE BRIGHTEST LIGHTS – King Charles feat. Mumford & Sons

This collaboration between London artists, indie musician King Charles and my favorite Mumford & Sons is a pleasantly written piece with influences of folk. King Charles has a lot of nice, indie sounding songs such as Love Lust and Ivory Road. Had I not seen Mumford on this track, I wouldn’t have checked it out. But, man, I was glad I did.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

The brightest lights
Cast the darkest shadows,
And that’s where I’ll be found,
For what’s hiding by the morning
Will be chased by daylight’s hounds.

THE GHOSTS THAT WE KNEW – Mumford & Sons

This track is part of the folk rock band’s yet to be released second album, Babel. Staying loyal to the band’s repertoire, this song is really raw and very well written. Also included in their sophomore record is the carrier single I Will Wait, which has an alternate version entitled Nothing Is Written.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
Cause oh that gave me such a fright
But I will hold on as long as you like
Just promise me that we’ll be alright

LEGO HOUSE – Ed Sheeran

Lego House is Ed Sheeran’s second big single following his emotional and well-written hit, The A Team. Although I sometimes find some parts of his songs a bit off, he has a knack for writing good lyrics. Save for the rap-like parts, Lego House is a pretty catchy love song.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

I’m out of touch, I’m out of love
I’ll pick you up when you’re getting down
And out of all these things I’ve done I think I love you better now

WE DON’T EAT – James Vincent McMorrow

A beautifully written piece, especially the chorus, We Don’t Eat is one of indie singer James Vincent Mcmorrow’s better songs. Like most indie artists, McMorrow writes good lyrics and has a distinct sound and vibe. Like Bon Iver’s Vernon, he uses his falsetto.  Also notable is McMorrow’s most successful hit to date, Higher Love.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

That we don’t eat until your father’s at the table
We don’t drink until the devil’s turned to dust
Never once has any man I’ve met been able to love
So if I were you, I’d have a little trust

BOY WITH A COIN – Iron & Wine

Samuel Beam, or Iron & Wine, has been around for a while, having released several records and compilations. The only song I know by him, Boy With a Coin has a very catchy tune and a very interesting MV.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

A boy with a coin he crammed in his jeans
Then making a wish he tossed in the sea
Walked to a town that all of us burn
When God left the ground to circle the world

WHISTLE FOR THE CHOIR – The Fratellis

A song from the Scottish indie-rock band’s debut record, Costello Music, Whistle For the Choir is the band’s third single. The song is a very fun to listen to, very apt for a serenade, track about finding an irresistible girl. Also among the band’s songs I like are  Ole Black and Blue Eyes and the catchy Chelsea Dagger.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

So if you’re lonely why’d you say you’re not lonely
Oh you’re a silly girl, I know I hurt it so
It’s just like you to come
And go you know me no you don’t even know me
You’re so sweet to try, oh my, you caught my eye,
A girl like you’s just irresistible

ADDICTED TO LOVE – Robert Palmer

This is Palmer’s most successful hit, with good lyrics and melody. Several artists have covered the song. Among them are Tina Turner, Westlife, and most recently, Florence and The Machine.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

You like to think that you’re immune to the stuff…oh yeah
It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough
You know you’re gonna have to face it
You’re addicted to love

SUMMER OF ’69 – Bryan Adams

The only Bryan Adams song I really know is his 1985 hit ‘Heaven’. It turns out that ‘Summer of ’69’ is the single following ‘Heaven’, both from his fourth album ‘Reckless’. If not for the MTV Unplugged CD lying around our house, I wouldn’t have discovered this very easy-to-listen-to song.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

Standin’ on your mama’s porch
You told me that you’d wait forever
Oh and when you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life

BRICK – Ben Folds Five

The 1998 hit of the now defunct Ben Folds Five band was actually about the band’s front man’s girlfriend and the abortion they had to do way back. With its sad  lyrics and melody and a very catchy chorus, ‘Brick’ is the bands biggest hit.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly
Off the coast and I’m headed nowhere
She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly

RICH GIRL – Hall & Oates

I know Daryl Hall and John Oates had quite a big following back in the day, and I might even be a part of it. Rich Girl is the duo’s first number 1 single back in 1977. The song is very catchy and straightforward, with a very endearing chorus. ‘Maneater’ and ‘You Make My Dreams’ are among my favorite Hall & Oates tracks.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

High and dry, out of the rain
It’s so easy to hurt others when you can’t feel pain
And don’t you know that a love can’t grow
‘Cause there’s too much to give, ’cause you’d rather live
For the thrill of it all, oh

8 Tracks I’m Listening to Right Now (Because Telling People What They Should Listen to is too Blah)

In my attempt to veer away from too mainstream music (just because pop has become too flashy), I opened my options to new songs. I am the type who has no definite preference in music, no one genre. So I guess trying to check out and get into new songs is quite easy for me.

And among the songs I have recently discovered, I narrowed it down to eight tracks that are constantly in loop on my phone’s player. (It has been my phone’s main purpose, but that is a story told long ago)

1. Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye

I know this song has been making rounds in loopholes  in countless music players all over the world right now. I just got into this song just recently. It’s so catchy and just beautifully made.

I have read somewhere  (Rogue Magazine, December 2011) that there is this new pop movement in music right now called “New Boring”. Among the mentioned flag bearers were ballad powerhouse Adele, folk band Bon Iver and Australian, singer-songwriter Gotye.

I couldn’t agree more with how the New Boring has been making such a noise. It’s a breath of fresh air amongst heavily produced, often over auto-tuned tracks of this time.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

No, you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records
And then change your number
Guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

2.  All the Rowboats by Regina Spektor

This is the carrier single of Spektor’s 2012 album, What We Saw on the Cheap Seats. Spektor is of the fame of her singles ‘Fidelity’ and ‘Samson’.

This new track is not a far cry from Regina’s often poetic lyrics and haunting vocals. The one thing that sets ‘Rowboats’ apart from previous tracks is the heavy use of percussions.

The song talks about setting art pieces, visual or otherwise, free from the contrived environment of museums and galleries.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

First there’s lights out, then there’s lock up
Masterpieces serving maximum sentences
It’s their own fault for being timeless
There’s a price you pay and a consequence

 3. How to Say Goodbye by Paul Tiernan

This song is part of the soundtrack of the 2008 flick, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

I have yet to see the movie but what I know is that the song was scored aptly in a scene where the actors, Kat Dennings, especially, delivered the goods. A friend just suggested this one, claiming that it was a favorite. And man, it didn’t disappoint.

Although I must say that hearing the song hits me every time.  It’s just so emotionally made with the lyrics and the melody.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

to get up and go
to catch the last train
to get in some car
and drive out again
to never come back this way….
and have to say….
goodbye

4. Falling by The Civil Wars

Grammy Award-winning folk duo, The Civil Wars has barely started a career in mainstream music industry. Their 2011 EP Barton Hollow has been getting good reviews with their often quiet, but poetic and haunting style.

Yes, they did the song Safe and Sound with Taylor Swift, but it is this song, Falling, that caught my fancy. The song, as I have mentioned, is poetic and quiet.

 LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

Haven’t you seen me sleep walking?
‘Cause I’ve been holding your hand
Haven’t you noticed me drifting?
Oh, let me tell you, I am

5. If You Go by Javier Dunn

Javier Dunn is Sara Bareilles’ band guitarist and she was the one who lead me into discovering Dunn’s music. Apparent to this song is the easy going vibe and catchy chorus, much like some Bareilles’ style. (Dunn in a collaborator in some of Sara’s songs.)

The song is easy to relate to and is very catchy. It is surprisingly easy to listen to despite the sad undertones and smooth flow. And I also love his cover of Miike Snow’s ‘Animal’.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

If you go, please don’t write
Please don’t call, ‘cause your voice will make me cry
Nothing good in this goodbye
So let me go on without you

6. I Can Barely Say by The Fray

From the band’s most recent album, Scars and Stories, comes yet another emotionally charged track of the same effect as ‘How to Save a Life’ and ‘You Found Me’.

The song has yet to be released as a single but I’m positive that they will eventually do it with this track. The words of the song is just so touching and very deep.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

I wanna return but all you will do is turn to leave
If I can find my way home, will you take hold of me?
I’ve been gone so long
I can barely say
All I know is now I want to stay
Has it been too long since I went away?
Cause I’m trying to find the words but I can barely say

 7. The Cave by Mumford and Sons

This list could’ve been solely dedicated to British band Mumford and Sons just because I have been so into their sound as of late. Their song ‘Little Lion Man’ could’ve also been the entry I put here but I figured the song is so 2010.

It was Little Lion Man who introduced the band to me, but as I discovered the band’s songs further, it lead me to liking this Grammy Awards nominated song, The Cave.

Had I been given the right ability to sing and play instruments, I  want to sound folk-ish as Mumford and Sons.

 LYRICS that SOLD the SONG:

But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

8. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by Amy Winehouse

This is a revival of the 1960 hit by The Shirelles. This track is part of Winehouse’s (sadly) last record, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, released months after the singer’s demise.

I must admit that Amy Winehouse’s death is the only celebrity death that I feel sorry for. Gone too soon. And it’s a shanda.

The song’s slow, jazzy take on the classic totally made this track one of my most loved Amy track.

LYRICS that SOLD the SONG: 

Tonight with words unspoken,
You said that I’m the only one,
But will my heart be broken,
When the night (When the night)
Meets the morning sun.