Ariana Grande brings Christmas cheer in ‘Christmas Kisses’

Welcome to Ariana Fridays! Every Friday leading up to Christmas, I’ll be review Ariana Grande Christmas catalog. She happens to have two EPs and  one single. Nothing brings Christmas cheer like Ariana Grande.

It’s the first Friday in December! Do you know what that means? Only 18 days until Christmas. As you have a massive heart attack because you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, it’s time to go down memory lane  and reminisce about Ariana Grande’s first ever Christmas EP “Christmas Kisses.” Also, I swear this isn’t being an Ariana Grande fan site. It just happens she’s a queen and I appreciate a queen being a queen. Welcome to the first edition of Ariana Fridays!

“Christmas Kisses” was released in December of 2013. Instead of having all the songs come out on the EP release date, each song was released individually as single the weeks leading up to the release date. This was done similar to Justin Bieber and how he did his album “Journals,” which was also released in the same month.  It’s like they have the same manger or something. 

The EP features four songs on it. Two of the songs are covers while the other two songs are original Christmas songs. The album is a good mix of pop and R&B. It’s similar in style to her debut album “Yours Truly.” The album has a good flow when it comes to the layout and progression of the EP. It starts out fast paced and extremely upbeat before ending on a much relaxing and slower pace. The EP has this old-school Britney Spears and Mariah Carey feel to it. 

The two covers are of “Last Christmas” and “Santa Baby,” which also features former “VICTORiOUS” co-star Liz Gillies. Both songs Ariana put her own spin on to where they are still the same songs you know and love but more update to date. This is more so apparent in “Last Christmas” where she added in a new verse. This is the kind of covers of Christmas music I want to hear. She adds something new to the songs and not let it be just the same old song. 

The two original songs, “Love in Everything,” and “Snow in California” are good songs but they aren’t that memorable as the other two. They aren’t bad songs but they are just average. “Love is Everything” is such as better song compared to “Snow in California.” It’s just too corny with the lyrics. It’s even too corny for Christmas music standards. “Snow in California” is just meh. It’s not bad but it’s not good. It just feels like filler on the album. It’s also not as lyrically strong as the rest of the album. 

Verdict

“Christmas Kisses” is great first Christmas EP but it’s nothing too great. The covers on the album are the highlights while the original songs are something that most people will just gloss over. I do recommend this EP as it’s good music to have on in the background during this holiday season. You will mainly be listening to the covers. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

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EP Review: Aly & AJ release ‘Ten Years’ and it’s EVERYTHING

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Aly & AJ has me shook

It’s finally here! We have ourselves a new EP from our queens of 2000s Disney and I’m living for new music from Aly & AJ. When they released their first new single, I died and believe me when I say I died again. I’m pretty much immortal at this point because I just keep on dying.

Click here to get some more Aly & AJ things

“Ten Years” isn’t like other songs or albums that they did before, even their extremely underrated song they released as 78Violet. The entire EP has this 80’s pop feel to it and just blends so nicely with their voices. The EP is the actually is the perfect adjustment to the new Aly & AJ. While the old one will forever be in my heart, I’m all for this new adult version. Pretty much, 2017 has been the year of rebirths. There lyrics also reflect their all grown up nature. It’s just extremely refreshing to have them back in the world of music.

The only problem that I have with the EP is that it just too short. Yes, I under that is the point of EP. I think the fact that I’ve all ready heard two out of the four songs what also made it feel shorter than it was. Yeah, I listened to it the two singles again but it wasn’t anything new. I still love “Ten Years,” but I just wish that it was more fulfilling than what it is. I guess I just wanted a full fledge album.

Overall, I highly enjoyed “Ten Years.” It’s shows how much the sister duo grew from their last album release until now. If I had to pick a favorite song, it would have to be “Promises.” But everything on this album is a bop. I cannot wait for the rest of the new music.

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Make sure you follow me on Twitter because I’m sassy and I know. Too Corny?

 

Extended Play Review: New Kids On The Block ‘Thankful’

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New Kids On The Block released their first set of new music since their album “10” in 2013. It’s also kickstarted their tour with Boys II Men and Paula Abdul, two musical acts that I thought were retired.

“Thankful” is a five song Extended Play, or EP. There is a Target bonus track but I’m not counting that one because it’s not available everywhere. The probably right out the gate is that before the release of the EP, we’ve already heard most of it due to “Thankful” and “One More Night” being released as singles. This will greatly cut into the replay value as you’ve already been listening to half the EP and you’re just going to jump into the three new songs you haven’t heard. Not sure why they did this.

How the songs were produced were a little bit shaky for the EP. In the first track “Heartbeat,” it suffers from being slightly overproduced. They had a steady beat, like an actual heartbeat, that is throughout the majority of the song. Then when it gets the chorus they add a lot of drum beats and it sounds doesn’t sound the greatest. There’s a slight drum beat leading up to the chorus, which is fine because it doesn’t sound like there is an issue with timing. I had to listen to and count time multiple times. There isn’t one but rather, just sounds like there is one. “Heartbeat” stripped down and rewritten would sound amazing because it’s not a good song. It really contradicts what is presented in the rest of the album.

“Thankful” presents more adult/mature themes in that their previous work. This album is pretty much about hooking up. The music could be featured in Magic Mike because it’s that kind of music. It isn’t a bad thing, but rather something that fits them and where they are at in their career. They are too old to be considered a boy band so this is a happy medium for them. They are a mature male band. It shows on this record more than on “10.”

This EP is going to be hit or miss for people. If you are a die-hard NKOTB fan, then you are going to love it because you love them. If you are a casual fan or just someone who likes pop music, then this album is going to be a miss. This EP isn’t a very good one for them. There are some standouts like “Thankful” and “Still Sounds Good” but it isn’t enough to make the EP good. Hell, even parts of the standouts are kinda “ehh.” I give them props for experimenting with new sounds and trying to fit into what’s on the radio, but it doesn’t work. They need to go back to the drawing board and look at what they want to be because what they presented in “Thankful” isn’t that. If they want to continue with the sound they presented in “Thankful,” then I would recommend playing with it more before the next release.

If the EP was an album, then it probably would have worked better in their favor. More song probably would have helped make it stand out and be better than what it is.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Album Review: Zara Larsson releases ‘So Good’

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Swedish artists have always been renowned for excellent pop music with catchy hooks and beats that you wouldn’t want to get out of your head. ABBA in the 1970s, Roxette in the 1980s, Ace of Base in the 1990s, and A*Teens in the 2000s are just some of the groups that came out of Sweden to become popular worldwide. Max Martin, the genius that gave award-winning songs for all the big names in the late-90s like Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys. Newest Swedish pop sensation Zara Larsson released her second album “So Good” to add her name to the list of great Swedish artist.

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“So Good” is…well, what you would expect at this point. It follows the trends and the tropes of the most pop artist in this day and age. While I won’t deny that Zara has a really nice voice, she sounds like the majority of the artist on the radio today. Her songs don’t really have that much meaning to them as they are just like most of the pop song you will hear on the radio. To some, this will be good and she’ll sell music. But to others, they will just think she was another artist.

“I Can’t Fall in Love with You” and “One Mississippi” are probably the only two songs that really make her unique. But that’s only because it’s not like most of the songs on the album. You have heard some of her songs but like I said before, you probably thought it was someone else. I even when went back to see what her music before “So Good” was like, and frankly, it was better. It wasn’t so formulaic like “So Good.”

All the music sounding the same in pop music is what’s wrong with most music in this day and age. There’s nothing that sets them apart. In the late 90s/early 00s, they all might have looked the same but their music was at least had subtle differences to help tell them apart from one another. Zara sounds like most of the pop artist you will hear on the radio.

Her album is bad, it just doesn’t have any replay value because how similar it sounds to other music on the radio. As soon as the first song came on, I felt like I have heard it before. It was like that for the majority of the album. In order for an artist to thrive and survive, they need to stand out with their music. “So Good” definitely isn’t standing out.

Overall, If you like the majority of mainstream pop music in which it all sounds the same then you will love the album. It just won’t have any replay value. If you were looking for a change in pop music, then “So Good” isn’t for you. Zara has a long way to go if she’s looking to be next big Swedish pop sensation.

Here’s the album for your ears to hear:

Rating: 3 out of 5

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