MUSIC SPOTLIGHT – New Releases – September 20th

Highlights from Friday September 20, 2019 Release Day 

Accidental themes sometimes emerge. This week’s accidental theme is people with horrible reputations who put out more mature albums than we are normally used to. One is a younger artist pushing pop music to the future. The other a rock legend reminding all of us what rock music was and what it could be again. 

1. Tove Lo – Sunshine Kitty 

Tove Lo is an electro pop powerhouse from Sweden who first crashed into our worlds in 2014 with her hit song ‘Habits’. She is known for her innovative approach to pop music and also her unhealthy lifestyle in which she is quite honest about in her music and outside of her music. 

This album though sees a tad bit of maturity and reflection from Tove Lo. Sure there are still themes of drug use, reckless sex, and even relationship insecurity, but there is also this underlying message that Tove Lo ultimately does want to make a deep meaningful connection. She is afraid of it and it has yet to happen, but deep down that is what she wants to experiment with next in her life. The last track ‘Anywhere U Go’ explores that theme the most, but other tracks like ‘Come Undone,’ ‘Mateo,’ and ‘Stay Over’ all explore Tove Lo’s desire to connect and the unhealthy expressions she often interprets that connection to mean. 

Tove Lo is also a publically bisexual woman and on this album she expresses her love for both genders. Every track seems to go back between a man and a woman, making it a rather progressive album and one that I am excited to hear. The song ‘Bad as the Boys’ explores a relationship with a woman which has gone wrong and communicates the idea that no matter the gender the same love pitfalls exist. 

All the tracks were written and produced mainly by Tove Lo. I was excited to see the risks she took on this album. Sometimes the songs have a manic and crazed feel to them which I could not connect with, but the majority of the album is well written and well composed. I do believe, Tove Lo, is one of the most innovative artists in the pop world today, so I always look to see what she is up to. Turns out? She’s creating some nice bangers and showing some growth as a person. Well, slightly. 

Songs of Note: 

‘Glad He’s Gone’ is a song that will get stuck in your head. Lyrically strong. Well sung. Composed incredibly well. ‘Stay Over’ catchy song with a catchy rhythm that speaks to trying to convince a man to give up a past relationship and take a crazy risk with her. ‘Mateo’ is a slower song about longing for a guy who does not seem to be giving his full attention back. The lyrics are reflective, longing, and demonstrates the toxicity of obsession. The music backing the lyrics is understated and really highlights the lyrics well. ‘Shifted’ a song about putting energy into a relationship that does not seem to give that same energy back. The music beat is slow and lethargic with some eerie beats to indicate that things are not as it should be. 

2. Liam Gallagher – Why Me? Why Not. 

Liam Gallagher is a legend in his own mind and also a legend to all of us as well. He is known for being temperamental, but also part of the most successful band in the nineties Oases. As soon as the band broke up he fronted another band called Beady Eye before taking on a solo career. Why Me? Why Not is Gallagher’s second full length solo album and it is a mature album filled with some great songs. 

The first thing I noticed as I listened to all the tracks on this album is how diverse the music was. You could hear the alternative rock vibes that made Oases so popular, but also elements of country, folk, blues, and psychedelic rock as well. There are definitely songs that serve Liam Gallagher’s self-image of being a misunderstood person who is unfairly treated, but also empowering songs that look at the larger picture of what is going on in Great Britain this very moment politically. Themes of nostalgia, passion, anger, and the desire to maintain a sense of hope are all evident in the lyrics and the sound of this album.  

There were also so many smart instrumental arrangements chosen for particular songs for particular moods. ‘Halo’ has this powerful piano that is a throwback to piano rockers Billy Joel and Elton John, building in speed with the help of a wonderful beat from the drums. Simple lyrics paired with the music pulls you into Liam Gallagher’s pride in his girl and the song literally sounds like bragging. ‘The River’ is a political song wanting to empower the younger generations to stop being apathetic. The guitar and the drums are sharp, haunting, and build like a march giving the song a haunting movement as if no matter what choice is made apathy or fighting will lead to some pain. The lyrics even promise that it will be uncomfortable. 

The entire album is filled with beautiful melodies, guitar riffs, and it satisfied my desire for a proper rock album. This is a proper singer-songwriter rock album that brings the anger, the fun, and of course a little hope that the people who underestimate you fall on their face a little…it’s Liam Gallagher… he most likely hoped a lot. 

Songs of Note: 

‘Shockwave’ was the first single of the album and many critics accused Gallagher of being self-serving and selfish with this song. To me, though, it is a catchiy singable rock song about wishing the people who have done you wrong swift karmic justice. ‘Misunderstood’ is a track from the Deluxe Edition. It has an old school country-rock vibe that I enjoyed and talks about how you should continue to be you despite the people who simply do not get you. ‘Gone’ is a track that has a dirty guitar melody that holds elements of blues music. So many influences are on this track. Lyrically it reminds people that we do not need to stay around when we feel we deserve more. He even slows down the song to break things down for his listener and get things off his chest.  ‘Why Me? Why not’ is the song for which the album was named after. Usually that means the song is the mood that the artist was trying to capture the most. This song is an empowerment song about not doubting your self-worth. Stop asking if you deserve things and accept you do. It  has a wonderful melody and definitely a song you can sing along to. 

Other Notable Releases from September 20, 2019 

  • Andrew Combs – Ideal Man (Folk – 11 Tracks – American) 
  • Blink 182 – Nine (Pop Rock – 15 Tracks – American) 
  • Fitz and the Tantrums – All the Feels (Indie Pop – 17 Tracks – American)
  • Keane – Cause and Effect (Alternative Rock – 16 Tracks –  British) 
  • Robbie Robertson – Sinematic (Americana -13 Tracks-  Canadian) 

Playlist of the Artists who Dropped Music on September 20, 2019 

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