Sweetest Surrender marks the 7th independent album release for singer/songwriter Amy Loftus. This 10 track collection of songs is notable for its embrace of positivity. In fact, after listening to this uplifting album, one might be convinced Amy doesn’t have a negative bone in her body. That may or may not be true, but Sweetest Surrender is a romantic anthem that treats the listener to the joys of allowing oneself to fall in love with someone completely.
The songs have quite a bit of contemporary pop flair. The best way I could describe the style of music is that it is very sentimental. It reminds me of the stuff you would hear in commercials that deal with any kind of uplifting or togetherness kind of message. The song On The Inside fits this mold very well. I envy Amy Loftus because she strikes me as someone who has found balance and inner peace. She has a very sweet sounding singing voice, but ultimately I’d recommend her music to anyone that just wants to develop a more positive attitude toward their life.
Amy also hosts the podcast Something Better (of which the album’s title track Sweetest Surrender is also the theme song,) a show which targets both singles and spouses. She’s also a certified yoga teacher, and I have no doubt that whatever she charges for yoga classes, it’s well worth it.
Audible is a new track from “Belize born/Brooklyn raised” hip hop artist JLewis. What’s striking to me about JLewis is in the way he defies rap cliches and stereotypes, while at the same time retaining credibility with his music. If one were to listen to Audible without paying much attention to anything but the music and tone, they might just assume it fits the mold of a standard, decent hip hop track. He has a nice flow and delivers his lines with a capably charismatic intensity. However, JLewis avoids the usual griping and posturing and instead articulates a more constructive message. Rather than complaining and blaming others for a laundry list of problems they may or may not be responsible for, JLewis sees the path forward as one where people find ways to achieve success (buying property etc.) and subsequently use their financial and social leverage to control the system the way others do now. One interesting tidbit about JLewis is that his bio states that served in the military for 8 years (including 3 different wars,) eventually leaving the military on good terms with an honorable discharge. A hip hop artist who has been around the globe a few times, it seems clear that he has learned a thing or two about how the world works. It’s nice to see a rapper go into so much depth in his lyrics. “Freedom of speech costs a pretty penny.”
A rapper from Norfolk, Virginia known by the moniker of “Kidd Cutta” has a new jam out titled Tha Man. It’s much more melodic and musical than I was expecting. Usually these types of songs are all bluster and attitude, but Kid Cutta demonstrates some ability to carry a tune in addition to his excellent timing. The kind of pacing alterations and transition to (casual) musical vocals are not something that just anyone can do. To put it another way, this recording does not sound amateurish at all. Kid Cutta is not just another guy trying to pose as a rapper. Tha Man is legit, and this artist does a fine job in representing the Norfolk, Virginia scene. The musical backing itself on this track is good, too. Has a nice ambient quality to it.
The artist known as “Pagan Interface” describes his music as Neuromantic Chillwave For the Post Apocalypse. Suffice to say that this sort of thing is right up my alley. Like vaporwave, chillwave is just another tentacle from the genre of retro music that captures the abstract background aesthetic of afternoon mall ambiance of the 80′s and 90′s. With Pagan Interface though, it is thematically more like the ambiance of a mall that’s had a nuclear bomb dropped near it, yet one can still hear a cassette playing somewhere as they’re sifting through the rubble looking for radiation-proof snacks. The post-apocalyptic theme here also makes for some amusing song titles, such as Toothless Youths,Malleable New Flesh and Atomic Bald (lmao!) This music is in fact very chill. The pacing varies from bleak to upbeat, but the synths themselves are quite soothing and meditative. These jams are sure to animate whatever mutated survivors are lurking about out there whom have lost the will to live. I couldn’t help but think that this album would be great to listen to while playing a game like “Fallout” if one were to just turn off the game sound and enjoy the haunted future for what it is.
24-7 is a new single from Love Ghost, a budding young alternative rock band from Los Angeles. When I say young, I do mean young. A couple of the band members are still just in high school. You wouldn’t necessarily guess it from the music though, which comes across as mature and professional.
24-7 deals with themes of anti-bullying. It has long been something of a paradox for bullied kids in school in that in order to get teachers to punish a bully who is tormenting them, they must have to be physically pummeled by the bully before the school will actually do anything. In order to prevent the bully from hurting you further, you must get hurt more drastically. If you yourself do something violent preemptively to the bully, well then you’ll be the one punished. It really is a no win situation. “There’s no escape from attack…Only after the bloody meat hangs on display will they give you, the time of day.” as the song’s lyric states succinctly. Another interesting line is “An elusive language sets the rules and governs the lunchrooms in school.” There is an entire framework and ecosystem at play in school cafeterias. One could write a whole dissertation on that subject, but what’s important here is that some student’s entire lunch experience revolves around evading bullies and avoiding humiliation. Of course, the teachers and lunchroom supervisors themselves take an elusive tact also. They tend to try to avoid confrontation or the uncomfortable responsibility of disciplining problem students. They map out their own “escape” route by looking the other way.
Anyway, let’s get to the actual music. 24-7 is a pretty straightforward alternative rock song. The term “alternative” can mean almost anything these days, but Love Ghost actually has captured something close to the authentic original sound of 90′s alternative music. If I were to listen to this song without having any info beforehand, I would have guessed it came out around 1994. It could have easily found its way on to the Reality Bites soundtrack or maybe even one of the “angstier” teen episodes of Party of Five (thinking maybe season 2 with the Julia and Justin drama.) This music still fits with contemporary times as well. The whole emotive vibe here made me think of the show 13 Reasons Why. The singer here (despite complaining about bullies) displays enough charisma to make it work, as if the band is waging a kind of timid revolution.
The award winning video for 24-7 is worth watching. It features some excellent animation in the vein of a-ha’s Take on Me video. I wish more directors would bring back this style of animation instead of the 3-D, annoying filters or live action crap. Anyway, Love Ghost is a young band, but they’ve got a good thing going. I hope they manage to stay together for a while.