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Music Notes

Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.

Monthly Archives: February 2009

lily-allen-cp011English singer songwriter Lily Allen gained acclaimed success with her debut album “Alright, Still.” After her first single “Smile” reached the top of the UK Singles Charts in July of 2006, Allen’s newest album, “It’s Not Me, It’s You,” is a follow up to the star’s immensely popular string of dainty yet explicit tunes which took the U.S. music scene by storm. While her first album was an innovative mix of light catchy tunes and sassy, in-your-face lyrics, “It’s Not Me, It’s You” lacked the same fresh quality.

Known best for her blunt lyrics, Allen’s “It’s Not Me, It’s You,” once again delivers controversial statements interspersed with bubbly, carnival-like melodies. While the album finally shows diversity in the last few tracks, the initial first half of the album tends to be redundant and similar in both sound and lyrics.

The first track, “Everyone’s At It,” is typical of Allen’s original style. The poppy sound, reminiscent of older works, is counter-acted with lyrics such as, “So your daughter’s depressed, /We’ll get her straight on the Prozac./ But little do you know,/ She already takes crack.” The same blunt undertaking continues on throughout the next few tracks on the album. Allen’s “The Fear” takes on the cut throat steps to success in Hollywood, but once again, appears to give a deceivingly happy and flippant message through the same piano based, bubbly tune.

Allen’s next four tracks are not for the male faint of heart. Songs such as “Not Fair,” explicitly tell of her dissatisfaction in the bedroom. Lyrics describing the seemingly perfect man, give way to his every fault during intimacy: “There’s just one thing / that’s getting in the way/ When we go up to bed / you’re just no good/ It’s such a shame/ I look into your eyes / I want to get to know you/ And then you make this noise/ and it’s apparent it’s all over.”

The next four tracks continue to tell of Allen’s woes, both in first person, and in a story telling format. The melodies could easily be made into one, half hour long male bashing tale of snippy side comments and feminist sounding declarations. The melodies are once again similar in sound, while the repetitive, menacing lyrics are given titles such as “F*ck You” and “Never Gonna Happen.”

Just as soon as listeners may be ready to give up all hope of a positive ballad, along comes the song “Who’d of Known?” This genuinely cute tale of romantic beginnings breathes originality into “It’s Not Me, It’s You” with lyrics such as “Are you mine? /Are you mine? / Cause I stay here /All the time/ Watching tele/ Drinking wine/ Who’d of known?” The song is followed with a dreamy tune called “Chinese;” a song dedicated fully to relaxing and eating Chinese food with that special someone.

Surprisingly enough comes the next track, “Him.” This unexpected and original song questions the attributes of God, and the characteristics He would hold if human. The song is a refreshing addition to Allen’s album, while also echoing Joan Osbourne’s “What If God Was One of Us.”

While a lot was expected out of Allen’s follow up album, “It’s Not Me, It’s You,” fell short of the fresh and innovative sound captured in “All Right, Still.” While small musical gems can be found sparsely sprinkled throughout the album, Allen’s second attempt at poppy carnival tunes took an unfortunate turn into being a redundant musical therapy session.


Icelandic band Sigur Ròs take pride in their homeland heritage through their music. The bands unique mixture of soothing melodies and angelic vocals has made up four albums and one remix album. Founded in 1994, Sigur Ròs was described as a post-rock band inhabiting classical and minimalist elements.

sigur-rosAlso original to the band is their use of “Vonlenska,” better known as “Hopelandic” in English; a group of emotive syllables lacking in grammar structure, which is used purely to fill musical space. The invention of “Vonlenska” stemmed from their first album, titled “Von,” which is translated as “hope.” After being released worldwide, “Von” stood to be an earlier, experimental album for the group, and is often cited as having an unusual sound compared to their later works.

Sigur Ròs went on to inherit worldwide standing with their second album “Àgætis Byrjun” or “a good beginning.” Although originally released in Iceland, “Àgætis Byrjun” was soon also released in the UK in August of 1999. After finding fame in America, Sigur Ròs went on to tour in North America in April and May of 2001 for their third album “Rimur,” attracting celebrities and major record labels alike. The band, in an effort to settle with the most creative freedom available, signed with MCA records also in 2001.

Their fourth album, an untitled work, was released in October of 2002. The both lyric- less and title- less album was said to be a “darker, rawer and less accessible follow up to ‘Àgætis Byrjun,’” yet it still managed to leave its mark on the U.S. music scene after reaching number 52 on the American Billboard Chart. During this landmark time in their career, Sigur Ròs had sold one million albums worldwide.

The band went on to release two more albums, “Takk…” in 2005 and “Heima and Hvarf-Heim” in 2007. Their 2008 album entitled “Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust” or ““With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly” once again sparked interest in the lack of string instruments and more of an emphasis on guitar. The last track on the album, “All Right” was their first and only song so far to be sung in English.



With a music industry that inevitably promotes drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll, music lovers looking for an alternative can find solace in the Connecticut based band named Light the City. With lyrics that stray from traditional, hormonally based subjects, Light the City successfully maintains strong musicality with influences ranging from Forever the Sickest Kids and All Time Low to Four Year Strong and even an older Cartel.

Founded by guitar player and vocalist Josh Orbea, Light the City was soon established with the help of members Elijah Orbea, Mark Loper, Jon Yeston, and Evan Tetreault. Since the summer of 2007, the band has played numerous shows around Connecticut and Massachusetts, including a recent show in Mansfield. With a growing fan base and a deservingly bright future, Light the City continues to stay true to what they hope to impart to their listeners. Lead vocalist Elijah Orbea says “We like portraying a positive message and letting people know they have a hope in life.” His brother Josh says “so many kids look to drugs, sex and other ridiculous things to satisfy them. There’s a better way to live and that’s what we are portraying.”

With over 80,000 hits on their Myspace along with their Unsung Heroes EP that debuted summer 2008, fans nationwide continue to express a growing interest in the group. Songs such as “This is Our Time” identify with the need to find one’s identity, while giving listeners substantial, catchy lyrics to sing along to. A number of positive messages can be found sprinkled throughout their songs, which tend to remain uplifting yet culturally relevant. “Just a Little Situation” and their newest single “Maybe Then We’ll See” also add to the band’s diverse yet wholesome sound. When asked about their hopes for the future, the band collectively says “[we hope] to someday get big enough where we find a label that we enjoy and can work great with. So many labels don’t allow their bands to be themselves.”

With legions of pre-teens posting hourly on their Myspace and Facebook group, the success of Light the City seems to be a given. Light the City continues to conquer hundreds of fans via internet sites such as Purevolume and Reverbnation.

This Grammy winning artist is single handedly bringing back mellow soothing tunes, with her debut album “19.” After winning the Grammy for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal, Adele is attracting more attention than ever. At the age of 20, Adele’s album entered as number one on the British charts, while her single “Chasing Pavements” spent three consecutive weeks as number two on the Billboard charts.
After being dubbed the new Amy Winehouse by the British press, Adele is emerging as a reliable role model for young women, both in the U.S. and across the pond. After giving up drinking all together, Adele nonchalantly recognizes the pressure to be thin, and her decision to overcome the Hollywood norm. “I’m really mouthy about not having the Hollywood look. Everyone asks me ‘Why don’t you feel pressured to get the Hollywood look?’ and I’m like, ‘Becausadele23e I don’t.’ I mean, I quite like my eyes and my lips. I don’t like my double chin or my gut, but I don’t not like them enough to do something about it.”