Terror Jr – Bop City 2: TerroRising

Pop music is very formulaic. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. Basic lyrics about the same things. Not much creativity in general. So when Terror Jr came onto the scene with a fresh slant on pop music, I was hooked. Following up their first album with Bop City 2: TerroRising, Terror Jr continued to bring the jolly vibes that separate them from the run of the mill pop stars.

Bop City 2 is a masterpiece. It doesn’t lack in lyrics, vocals, production, structure, innovation, or execution. It is an inventive pop album with slick production from Felix Snow, a member of the trio who works heavily with glitch pop star Kiiara. It his signature production that truly distinguishes Terror Jr. The production is simplistic, minimalist, and airy. This allows for singer Lisa Vitale to effortlessly deliver her ethereal vocals. The production fits her voice and her voice fits the production, working tag team to create a dynamic that leaves its mark on the listener.

In terms of lyrics, Terror Jr always comes through with some well-penned lines. “Caramel” is a prime example of a song with substance. Touching upon topics like plastic surgery, homosexuality, racism, and religion, “Caramel” is gold when it comes to lyrics. Terror Jr not only penned meaningful songs, but also a ton of memorable lines that just click. The track “Sweatpants” has a memorable chorus that begs to be echoed at the top of lungs. Moreover, “Heartbreaks” is perfectly penned song, complimented strongly by Lisa’s effortless flow.

One concern I had as I impatiently waited for the album was that the songs would all sound too similar. Terror Jr has a very specific sound that couldn’t be mistaken for anyone else honestly, but I was afraid to fall upon an album that would be the same song with different lyrics. However, I was pleased to find that each song was different and offered something different to the overall album. And with each song standing out on its own, it ultimately leads to an album with maximum replayability.

The sugary sound of Terror Jr is overwhelming and underappreciated. Bop City 2 is not only a mature sequel but the band’s warning that they are going to take over pop with their fresh, inventive sound marked by real lyrics, stellar ethereal production, and airy vocals.

Vybes like: Terror Jr , Kiiara

Top vybes: Smoke, Sweatpants, Caramel, Heartbreaks

 

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Calvin Harris, Pvris, The Plot In You

“Feels” – Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris will have the best album of the summer and the whole year—quote me. The evidence is in his singles off his upcoming release Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, due June 23rd. The latest of these singles “Feels” continues in the same fashion as the other singles. Calvin Harris is combining fantastical collaborations with extra groovy funk-inspired EDM. “Feels” features Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, and Big Sean, each artist adding an extra layer of artistry on this track. The production is phenomenal, truly mixing the funky vibes with modern anthems without being over-the-top. It’s impossible to miss how summery this and the other singles are which only hints more at the fact that Calvin Harris is taking over the summer. My favorite facet of “Feels” is that each artist adds a different flavor on top the stellar, slow-burning production.

“What’s Wrong” – Pvris

As if to prove that Pvris can do no wrong, they drop a new single titled “What’s Wrong”, and in fact there is nothing wrong with this song. Pvris does everything right on this track. To mix brooding lyrics with powerfully, subtle instrumentation for the result of an infectious alt-rock anthem is a showcase of outstanding musicianship. Lynn Gunn continues to deliver amazing vocals, and it is during the bridge where you can truly feel the riveting emotion that she brings. Pvris is a stand-out band for me because they don’t go overboard with their sound. They deliver darkly-tinged atmospheric tracks that don’t sacrifice infectiousness or simplicity. “What’s Wrong” is a testament to that and is further proof that Pvris will drop a phenomenal sophomore album due on August 4th.

“Feel Nothing” – The Plot In You

The Plot In You dropped “Feel Nothing” to announce their signing with the stacked Fearless Records. Despite its title, this track makes you feel everything. From the despondently dark instruments to the emotional, gritty vocals, this track is extremely powerful. This band has been amazing for quite some time, especially after their last record Happiness in Self Destruction, but they continue to display maturity in growth, evident on “Feel Nothing”. It’s polished, mature, and extremely well-structured—ultimately allowing for this song to hit harder than ever. The way the softly crooned verse simmers slowly into the potent chorus is remarkable and unforgettable. One simply cannot listen this song and not feel anything. The Plot In You killed this track, and in turn fans will kill the replay button.

A$AP Mob, Terror Jr., Currents

“Wrong” – A$AP Mob

A$AP Mob dropped a music video for “Wrong”, which means that Cozy Tapes Vol. II is on its way. A$AP Mob had one of the best albums of 2016, so “Wrong” and “RAF”, the two singles they have dropped so far, have certainly gotten me hyped. “Wrong” in particular is features only A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg, but that does not take away from the track. In fact, those two are the best A$AP members and they prove it on this track that serves to be less hype and more chill. Rocky effortlessly croons a wavy hook that is easy to vybe with. It carries the song very well, and when Ferg echoes the end of the hook before his verses the song truly coalesces. Ferg kills his verses, discussing his thoughts about how his infidelity leaves his girl with deep scars. With lyrics that actually have an impressive message on top of a soothing beat, Rocky and Ferg deliver an amazing track that showcases their growth and maturity.

“Appreciation” – Terror Jr.

The mysterious and innovative pop trio Terror Jr. have knocked the ball out of the park on each of their three singles. Their most recent one “Appreciation” is phenomenal. The production is terrific as usual; Felix Snow can do no wrong. The track is a sweet treat with lead singer Lisa’s vocals as airy and gripping as ever. However, the track doesn’t stray to far from their hit single “Come First”. Yet I have no problem with it because I view this track as a continuation of “Come First”, but from the a different perspective. In “Come First”, Lisa reminds her lover that she deserves to be cherished above all; in “Appreciation”, she puts her lover first as a way of showing her appreciation. Infectious from start to end, I eagerly wait for Terror Jr. to stop teasing with the singles and drop their album Bop City 2: TerroRising, out June 16. And mark my words: Terror Jr. and their innovative, candy pop sound will get them on the minds and tongues of the masses.

“Withered” – Currents

This is first song I have ever heard from the metalcore band Currents, and it has made me a fan. “Withered” is a heavy-hitter from a band that is heavily reminiscent of Chelsea Grin. Yet they distance themselves from that band with their solid cleans. The fresh vocals complement the unclean vocals. The song structure is varied and keeps things interesting. The riffs, however, are what indubitably carry this song. From the riffs in the atmospheric verses to the sexy breakdowns (especially the djenty one a minute in), “Withered” is a great track that should give this band more attention. Moreover, they are signed to SharpTone Records, a label that has a ton of amazing bands, both new and old. Thus, being a part of SharpTone means that Currents is the real deal.

 

“Issues” – Julia Michaels

Who is Julia Michaels? Where’d she come from? None of that matters because she is here, and she’s here to stay. Her first solo single “Issues” is the perfect ear worm to start the year off right. I first heard the track while at a snow tubing park in Pennsylvania, and it was too good to forget.

As mentioned before, this is Julia’s first solo single. She is a 23 yr. old songwriter who is relatively unknown until now. However, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t done anything up to this point. In fact, she’s a talented songwriter who has penned some of the hits that we know and love. She’s written and helped write songs such as “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, “Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfeld, and “All In My Head (Flex)” by Fifth Harmony. Moreover, she practically wrote all of Selena Gomez’s latest album “Revival”. So she’s been working behind the scenes, crafting infectious songs that can easily stick in your head. Her latest track is what propels her from behind the curtains and into the spotlight, front and center.

“Issues” is an airy, smooth track that focuses on the fact that her and her lover both have issues but can work through them together. The lyrics are real all around, which can easily speak to listeners and even be used by listeners. In a society where we only display the perfect view of our lives, it can be unsettling to come to grips with a lover’s issues, yet alone our own. The song is anthemic but not in a crowd-riling way; it’s an anthem that serves as a voice for the masses of a generation with tons of issues. Julia’s vocals are outstanding, making me wonder why she ever took so long to sing her own tracks sooner. Along the same veins as Daya’s latest album, Julia Michaels’ “Issues” serves as a prime example that a minimalist approach to pop music with memorable lyrics/message is on the rise.

Julia Michaels released a track that will rule airwaves for a while. Not because of a hella bouncy beat drop or meme-worthy lyric, but because of the simple yet impeccable blend of her beautiful voice, incredible lyrics, and minimalist sound.

For those who vybe to: Phoebe Ryan, Verité

 

“hard pill to swallow” – morgxn

morgxn is a singer/songwriter based in LA and NYC that I had never heard about until I was casually browsing on Spotify’s New Releases section. There he was, with his latest single “hard pill to swallow”, which looked and sounded interesting enough. So I gave it a listen, and I found myself listening to his other three tracks in no time. To describe his sound accurately, just blend the dark, atmospheric vibes of The Neighbourhood found on their first release with the creativity of Jon Bellion. “hard pill to swallow” truly showcases the combination.

“hard pill to swallow” is a dark, atmospheric single about the coming to grips with a love gone awry. Lyrically, it’s simple and repetitive. But it’s effective in raising the hairs on your body. morgxn has a sultry vocal delivery that hovers just above a whisper in how calm and soothing it is. His vocals take the basic lyrics and transform them in a deep story that you can experience. The atmospheric, rhythmic production full of swelling bass synths reminiscent of Banks’ “Begging For Thread” only adds to the experience that the song makes you feel. Ordinary artists make you sing the song, but extraordinary artists make you feel the song. Thus, with its calm crooning atop a dark ambiance full of subtly powerful production, “hard pill to swallow” has simply made me regret not finding morgxn sooner.

Vybes like: “Disappointed” – Storm The Sky

For those who vybe to: Colouring, Bishop Briggs

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