February 26, 2013

Tuesday, Feb. 26: Song-mageddon

Let's get serious, folks. These are desperate times, and that means desperate measures. No goofy intros, no artist back stories, and ranting and raving will have to be kept to an absolute minimum.

Because five free tracks were released to the iTunes store today.

That's right - five! Five whole songs: "Running for Cover," by Ivan & Alyosha, "Reggae," by Etana, "Black Roses," by Escondido, "Make Me Famous," by The Fades, and "Roll it 'Round," by The Lions.

I tell you what, my jaw dropped when confronted with such a beautiful, beautiful sight. It's more free music than you can shake a stick at (and also more than I know what to do with) so it's time for a music review lighting round!!

Ready? Fight! The first song is called "Reggae," by Etana. The song is appropriately named, and a little meta, since it's a reggae song in which she sings about reggae. There's some serious song-ception going on here. But clever Leo DiCaprio movie references aside, this song is just okay. I really like Shauna McKenzie's (aka: Etana) voice - appropriately smooth for the whole reggae scene - and there are some great drums in this song, but the track as a whole doesn't do much for me. I can't tell if the song is about a love interest who is like reggae or if the song is about the genre itself, because the lyrics switch back and forth. In a song that is almost six minutes long, I should know what it's about by the end. You had a lot of time to help me figure it out. Everything else is just "meh." My lack of appreciation for the reggae genre lands this song at...

2 out of 5.

Building momentum! Track two is "Black Roses," by a duo out of Nashville called Escondido. This group doesn't even have a Wikipedia page yet, guys - super indie. This means that if you want to seem like you're on the forefront of the underground music scene, you'll go buy their album, The Ghost of Escondido, right now. If you're more patient and want to test the waters, you'll download this free track because it's pretty swell. I love the harmonies between Jessica Maros and Tyler James, and I really dig on the southwestern Americana vibe. Even the chord progressions are a little atypical in a way that keeps the song interesting. The only thing keeping me from loving this song is the subtle steel guitar doing its thing in the background. I hate steel guitar. The only steel guitar I have ever liked is played by one Eddward "88 Fingers" Marion. All in all, "Black Roses" is a pretty, haunting melody, and I score it...

3.5 out of 5.

Can't stop now! Track three...doesn't have a YouTube video I can embed. Crazy, right? One point off for The Fades and their track, "Make Me Famous," for insufficient social media production, right off the bat. And it's all downhill from there - I would say that you should just hit up iTunes and download the track, but you shouldn't waste your time on this song. The lyrics are boring, repetitive, and the vocals are just a lot of frog-like croaking on the verses and throaty yelling on the choruses. The guitar playing isn't anything to write home about and even the drummer's fills are pretty weak. If this song hadn't already hit rock bottom, The Fades added some fanglytoothed distortion and the most obnoxious out-of-key screeching sound that repeats every measure of the chorus. Don't get me wrong, I like hard rock when there's a point to it all, but this song is a self-indulgent waste of two minutes and 48 seconds.

1 out of 5.

Almost done! Unfortunately, this is another track that is so obscure that I can't find a Wikipedia page or a YouTube video. But we're almost through this review blitz, so I'll have to soldier on. "Roll It 'Round," by The Lions (not to be confused with the bands Lions or Lion...) is the second reggae track of the week. Incorporating great bass licks and some fantastic horns in the chorus may have turned me into a reggae fan since listening to Etana three songs ago. Seriously, though, for someone who doesn't know much about reggae as a genre except that Bob Marley is kind of a big deal, I was groovin' to this track. Unlike the song by The Fades, you should definitely download this track and see what you think. I'm going to give this song a fair...

3 out of 5.

And that'll wrap up this week's wild music review blitz! "But wait, Austin," you cry in surprise, "you listed five free tracks this week and only reviewed four!" Why yes, that's just so, valued reader. I picked out my favorite track from this week's selection, "Running for Cover," to flesh out in my traditional style, and will produce another post before the day is out.

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