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Track-by-Track Truth/LION BABE/’Begin’

A funky New York City-based duo with a knack for mixing neo-soul with a slightly retro R&B feel, LION BABE is made up of vocalist Jillian Hervey and producer Lucas Goodman. After linking up at a party, Hervey–the daughter of Ms.,Vanessa Williams, by the way–overheard tracks Goodman, aka Astro Raw, was laying out and soon struck up a conversation with him.

The newfound music besties first collaborated song on the explosive, “Treat Me Like Fire,” which took over SoundCloud when it was released in late 2012. After word spread like music jungle wildfire about the dazzling duo, they were pretty much immediately picked up by Polydor  Records in the U.K. and Interscope in the U.S..

After finding their record label groove, LION BABE  struck back on the scene in 2014 with a self-titled four-track EP that featured “Treat Me Like Fire,” as well as the trunk ready,  “Jump Hi,” a strutting collaboration with Childish Gambino. Throw in a standout collaboration called “Hour Glass” on Disclosure’s sophomore set, Caracal, and LION BABE certainly knew what they were doing when it came to laying down the shimmering tracks on their vividly creative debut album, Begin, which has been laid out in track-by-track style for everyone to dive into.

Because when it comes to brilliant records like this one, you certainly don’t want to miss a beat. 

“Whole” Welcome to the electric world of Begin…you’ll be glad you stepped in. 

“Jump Hi”(ft. Childish Gambino) If you’re not bobbin’ your head from that first drop, you need your music card revoked. 

“Wonder Woman” Four words–produced by Pharrell Williams. Enough said. 

“Impossible” A bouncy, empowering number that’s mixed up with a clap happy backbone. Get ready to hit the floor with this one. 

“Stressed OUT!” For those days when we all go a little bat sh#t crazy. Lion Babe has now given us a funky anthem to ease during the Britney-in-’07 madness. 

“Satisfy My Love” A sexy, slinky standout. 

“Where Do We Go” Another standout, only this time this whirling number is just all wrapped in that neo soul music life. Groove on. 

“On The Rocks” A true after hours groove never sounded so good. 

“Hold On” That bassline though….

“Jungle Lady” They even have their own theme song. 

 

“Got Body” Do you? 

 

“Everyday Life” What that neo-soul music life is all about. 

 

“Treat Me Like Fire” You’ll never want to put out the funky music flames of this “Fire.” 

 

“Little Dreamer” A perfectly plugged in album closer. 

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Track-by-Track Truth/David Bowie/’Blackstar’

Before we get lost in the gone-too-soon artistic brilliance that’s all wrapped up in David Bowie’s twenty-seventh and final studio album, Blackstar, you need to know that the record was actually never intended to be his music farewell. Earlier this week, Rolling Stone spilled music tea with Bowie’s pal and long time collaborator (and Philly producing legend) Tony Visconti, in which Visconti told the mag that Bowie chatted with him in November him via FaceTime and told him he wanted another go around in the studio, post-Blackstar

By that time, Bowie had already known that his cancer was terminal, but Visconti got the impression that Bowie had no idea he had so little time left. “At that late stage, he was planning the follow-up to Blackstar,” he spilled. “And I was thrilled,” Visconti continues, “and I thought, and he thought, that he’d have a few months, at least. Obviously, if he’s excited about doing his next album, he must’ve thought he had a few more months. So the end must’ve been very rapid. I’m not privy to it. I don’t know exactly, but he must’ve taken ill very quickly after that phone call.”

Rolling Stone also went on to say that Visconti first learned of Bowie’s illness a year ago, when the two of them began logging in studio time for Blackstar recording sessions in New York. “He just came fresh from a chemo session, and he had no eyebrows, and he had no hair on his head,” Visconti told the music mag, “and there was no way he could keep it a secret from the band. But he told me privately, and I really got choked up when we sat face to face talking about it.”

During the middle of recording the album, Bowie’s prognosis seemed to improve, and Visconti said that Bowie was “optimistic” because the chemo treatments had seemed to be working. But Visconti soon learned that Blackstar would end up being Bowie’s music swan song after he noticed the dark tone of the lyrics and told him, “You canny bastard. You’re writing a farewell album,” an accusation to which Bowie simply laughed in response to. “He was so brave and courageous,” Visconti. also told RS. “And his energy was still incredible for a man who had cancer. He never showed any fear. He was just all business about making the album.”

Speaking of Bowie business, Blackstar is loaded with it. Whether he was facing Death in the face or just getting down to the roots of his music artistry, the departed rock legend certainly left his fans with an album that showcases all of his true talents–singing, songwriting and just making music that no one will ever be able to recreate because its an esteemed spaced out class of its very own. 

Another factor that Bowie achieved with this album is that he proved how the non-stop power of creativity is one hell of trait to have. He shows us that the power of creativity can prevail in your world no matter the consequences, even when facing your last days. Although creativity can certainly take anyone to some seriously dark places, it can also feel like an only friend in the world, and lift us up right when we need it most, and that’s the point that Bowie certainly got across in his last album. Whether or not he knew he was going to leave us two days after Blackstar was released (Jan 8th, which was also his 69th birthday), he still managed to leave his longtime fans with the perfect music bookend to compliment his tremendous four decade spanning career. 

You will be missed, Mr. Bowie. 

“Blackstar” A bold, yet somber track with an accompanying video that sets up this powerfully dramatic music ride to perfection…and with a little saxophone to go along with it. Bowie bliss. 

“‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore” Who knew a track about facing cancer head on could actually be quite daring and fun? Mr. Bowie did. And watch out for those lush, deep instrumentals…they’ll get you. 

“Lazarus” Be prepared…the accompanying video will change the way you look at life. 

“Sue(Or in a Season of Crime)” The most plugged in song of the Blackstar, packed with heavy guitar riffs, pounding drums and sensual synths that perfectly compliment Bowie’s trademark vocal howls. 

“Girl Loves Me” If you don’t understand what Mr. Bowie is saying in this track, don’t adjust your eardrums. He’s actually singing in Nadsat, the language used in Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, and also Polari, a slang language from gay clubs in 70s London. Don’t try it, because no one can do it better than Bowie. F&cking brilliant. 

“Dollar Days” The smoothest ride on the Backstair music spaceship…with lyrics “Can’t spend my life in shame
Making light of these dark days” and a sax that will get you where it musically hurts. 

“I Can’t Give Everything Away” No you can’t, Mr. Bowie, but what you can give us is a brilliant final record and a music legacy that will remain untouched, and that’s exactly what you did. 

 

 

 

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Track-by-Track Truth/Ellie Goulding/’Delirium’

At this point in the year, it’s a safe bet to say that it’s been a diva’s werk out there–Janet!, Missy! Adele! Taylor! Ariana! So, many divas, really, so little time to sort them out until the next chanteuse comes along with a pop music manifesto to own our music hearts, much like Ellie Goulding has done with her hot-to-headphones Delirium set. 

A little quirky, a little messy, but all things wrapped up in the sugary sweet music punch of Ms. Goulding, Delirium is a record that works very hard in trying to achieve its pop music foundation, supplying the listener with a shimmering set of stories, serenades and vivacious vocals that we know only Ms. Goulding can truly provide. 

While she started out in the music game as more of a “buzzworthy” artist, over the past few years Goulding has become somewhat of a pop anomaly, taking over radio with hits, “Lights,” “Anything Can Happen,” and this year’s 50 Shades of Grey behemoth, “Love Me Like You Do.” Her nasally, yet delightful vocal range (which is incredible live) has the uncanny ability to fit on any genre–indie dance, pop, R&B–and this is something that she knows and clearly, Delirium is her turn to make a big, booming pop album.

Throughout the record, the diva tries her recognizable pipes at pretty much every genre that’s thrown her way, and while the results can feel a bit underwhelming at times, the set certainly plays out with more synths and shimmer than her earlier sets, Lights (2010) and Halycon (2012) , but that’s mostly due to the fact that you learn real quick that this album was intended to be that album for Ms. Ellie. 

Now, I’m not going to say Delirium is a good or a bad record, it’s an interesting one at its very best, and perhaps that’s the best part of it all. It’s certainly the one factor that will keep the Ellie Goulding train moving along for quite some time. 

Dive into Philly Mixtape‘s Track by Track Truth of Ellie Goulding’s Delirium below.

Intro/(Delirium)

A haunting pop intro at its very Enigma-est 

“Aftertaste”

With its disco-meets-Middle Eastern influences, this track sets the oh, so interesting tone for the entire album. 

“Someting in The Way You Move” 

While it sounds like it could’ve been lifted from Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion set, Ms. Goulding somehow makes it all werk 

“Keep On Dancin'”

If you’re a Major Lazer fan, you’ll dive headphones first right into this one. 

“On My Mind” 

One of the best pop singles of the year. Headphones down. Go on, Mr. Martin. 

“Around You” 

Sounds like a track that Meghan Trainor could do for her next set. Eh….

“Codes” 

All wrapped up in big, booming synths. 

“Holding On For Life” 

Ms. Goulding with a  side of light gospel? Yes, please. 

“Love Me Like You Do” 

Enough. Next. 

“Don’t Need Nobody” 

A gritty, krunked up album highlight. 

“Don’t Panic” 

Forgettable. Just press play on “Don’t Need Nobody” again. They’re pretty much the same song. 

“We Can’t Move To This” 

Either you’ll love or hate this one. No further discussion. 

“Army” 

Time to slow it down…just a bit, of course…this is an Ellie Goulding record. 

“Lost And Found” 

With its light Fleetwood Mac influence, this track’s a whirling, wistful album highlight. 

“Devotion” 

The deepest groove of the whole album, would’ve better well suited for Adam Lambert. 

“Scream It Out” 

Not so miuch a scream, but a delightful glide into the Delirium sunset.