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Never Ending

Rihanna - ANTI (2016)

Off the bat, I like the lo-fi drums in "Consideration" a lot.

Very cool organ/synth sounds on "James Joint". I'm a fan of the timing on this one too - it's very unlike her early stuff (which, admittedly, is pretty much all I know of Rihanna).

I've heard clips here and there of "Desperado" but never listened to the whole track. It's definitely going on my favourites list. There's lots of space, the echo on the vocals at the end is perfectly placed. The distorted bass is great.

The vocals in "Needed Me" are awesome. I watched a whole series on rapping that explained different ways to accentuate certain words, using triplets, quarter notes, sixteenth notes, etc.. Rihanna makes great use of these principles throughout the album but this song is a perfect example of varying timing in the delivery of vocals.

"Same Ol' Mistakes" -- the parallel bass line & vocal at the beginning is cool. I like that the bass line continues carrying that melody throughout.

"Love On The Brain" is amazing. I've heard it a bunch and never made the connection that it was Rihanna. The strings are great! I love that she's leaning in to her head voice in the higher moments - a part of her voice that I haven't heard much of. Vocal production- the vocal is a tiny bit distorted, but only on the loud parts. Makes me think it's the compressor? I'll have to play around with this. (Any producers feel free to chime in as I very well might be wrong here).

"Close To You" - I love a good piano ballad. I love that you can hear the wood of the bass. Such a great tone. I need to make more piano & bass songs. (ALEX!)

STARS - In Our Bedroom After The War (2007)

It's funny, I've been compared to Stars, but I've never heard them before so I'm excited for this one.

From the first kick hits in "The Beginning After The End" I love it already. This is VERY dramatic - it reminds me of a rock opera.

"My favourite book" - I love the doo doos in the background. The panning of the cymbals is cool.

There are so many synth sounds in this music. It is VERY cool and not at all my style so I'm legit not sure why I got compared to them.

The vocals are so lovely and soft.

"The Ghost of Genova Heights" is so funky. The soft vocals are so good. I feel like lately everyone is obsessed with belting high notes but singing in your head voice is so powerful too. Thank god for microphones though.

"Barricade" is very musical theatre-y. Elton John-esque. Another album that doesn't fit perfectly into one genre and is fine because it's all one band.

"Window Bird" is a surprise with the changes in timing and missing beats in certain measures.. pushing the boundaries of 'pop' music (whatever that is). I love it.

"In Our Bedroom After The War" is a lot less of an impact than I was expecting for a title track. Still great though... and I've definitely heard this song before. The whistling in the background is cool. Lyrically they allude to the previous songs on the album which I like. The end of the song brings together all of the various styles they used throughout (theatrical, synth-heavy, indie-rock).. Still very rock-opera inspired.

Jenn Grant - Compostela (2014)

I've been looking forward to listening to this one.

Love the varied percussion in "bombshell". It reminds me of Jann Arden in the early 2000s. She used lots of bongos and congas back then. Big fan of the male BG vocals too.

This album is going to be a reference goldmine for percussion.

Reading up on Daniel Ledwell's production credits and I love so many albums he's produced..

Panning the clarinet melody in "Stranger in the Night" is super cool. And the flutes make me want to practice mine again.. I have too much going on already but I could probably squeeze it in if I stop sleeping!

The whole album is perfection. I listened almost exclusively for percussion. It is a masterclass in balance and arrangement. I will be adding every single song to my reference track playlist.

Dan Mangan - Nice Nice Very Nice (2009)

I love Dan Mangan, but I've never listened to an album through.

I'm a fan of the layered percussion -- shaker + super dry drum kit = perfect driving force.

"The indie queens are waiting" - the pauses are painful, but in the most delicate way. I don't know how else to describe it. I love the lo-fi/diy sounding production on this one. Reminds me that a good song is a good song, regardless of production. Sometimes bells and whistles are not needed.

I LOVE the use of accordion - I'll have to enlist Mary Beth Carty for a track!

"Et les mots croisés" : je m'attendais à une chanson en français! Especially when he said "allons-y" at the start..

Lots of clapping on this album. I JUST produced a song with clapping and it was actually so much fun. Must get friends together to clap!

This week: I'm getting into the rhythm of listening to full albums, but it is very time consuming and the fact that I'm only just finishing up album 16 feels a little bit daunting. It seems that I've been at this WAY longer than 4 weeks. BUT I signed up for this, so I'll do my best to see it through! I just hate myself sometimes for setting such ridiculous goals (like the time I wrote 10 songs in one day, or 30 songs in a month... idiot).

Also, Brandon told me my posts were too long so I'll be writing less and listening more!

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