Hip-Hop & Soul

Soul has a way of getting me into this perfect headspace. For a moment, everything feels all right. It’s not quite the romantic feeling I get from folk, nor the nostalgic sweetness that thrums through my veins with rock. It’s a little timeless, like it comes from another place entirely.

If hip-hop and soul aren’t your thing, check out my past Sharing The Goodness posts where I looked at indie and folk, instrumentals and chill-pop!

mila-j-hair

1. “D + G” by Mila J + BC KINGDOM

While Mila J is the more well-known Jhene Aiko‘s sister, don’t let it be said she’s piggybacking off of her sibling’s fame. No, Mila J is in a league all her own. She has the pipes, she has the style and I’m going to talk about two of my absolute favorite songs by her. …So far!

There are plenty of songs about the value of shiny rocks. ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ is probably the most famous Western example, though it certainly isn’t for lack of trying. ‘D + G’, however, gets a touch more artistic. While still talking about money, it goes a step further and uses precious stones as a metaphor for beautiful emotions. It certainly doesn’t hurt the production is buttery smooth and the atmosphere is nothing short of romantic. This is one collaboration that goes together about as well as…well, silver and gold.

Even amber and jade, it couldn’t make my memories fade

If I gave you every stone, could I keep you as my own?

Continue reading

Indie, Folk & Soul

This one is going to be a touch unconventional. At least, for me! While I put a stronger emphasis on lesser-known musicians in this series (and there are still a few below!), we’re also going to be taking a look at more popular artists who have been doing music for a while and have gone in a new direction. I mean, at the end of the day…I just gotta share the good stuff. As always, there are links to the songs below with additional media, such as cheorographies and covers as I find them.

So without further ado!

If the cluster of indie, folk and soul isn’t really your thing, check out my past Sharing The Goodness posts where I looked at alternative rock and electronic and synth-pop!

Chloe-x-Halle-Drop

1. “Drop” by Chloe x Halle

Recently picked up by Beyonce‘s label after years of doing covers on their Youtube channel, the future is looking pretty bright for Chloe x Halle. This was the first original song I heard from them and I was temporarily staggered by their unique and eclectic personality. It’s actually hard to know where to start!

The visceral lyrics and moody beat make this one hell of a well-rounded piece. The instrumentation is rather simple, for contrast, to better put more emphasis on their strong vocal work. A deep bassline thrums alongside finger-snaps, transitioning smoothly into an unsettling hook that builds up and layers gradually, transforming into a chorus-then-rap-then-croon that’ll have you reeling. It’s just all over the place in the best way.

The video is a little on the surreal side, too, which is always an extra point in my book!

Baby, I get sick of you

You are the same old tune

Continue reading

Ambient & Instrumental

I’m back on the ball! The blog may have needed a few weeks to get its shit together (passive phrasing will get me places), but I needed approximately zero time to find yet more incredible music to share. Without further ado, check out the songs below if you’re looking to add a few new favorites to your playlists. The five below are a blend between ambient and instrumental, using vocal samples for flavor but being generally light on lyrics with more emphasis on melody and mood.

If ambient or instrumentals aren’t entirely your thing, check out my previous Sharing The Goodness posts. I’ve done funk and disco, rock and synth-pop, among others!

kasbo

1. “World Away” by Kasbo

Sometimes a song will all but pick you up with two hands and drop you in the middle of another world entirely. This isn’t even a nod to the title — Kasbo‘s ‘World Away’ is a genuinely artful, rich composition that conjures up all sorts of fantastical imagery.

Now, this song absolutely toes the line of what constitutes an instrumental. A single line is repeated ad nauseum throughout the piece, distorted for flavor and sometimes reduced to echoing notes that compliment the instrumentation. …But I could give less of a damn. This is easily one of my favorite instrumentals of the year. If you’re a fan of ODESZA or any other sort of arsty instrumental group that blends multiple styles together and to hell with easy categorization, you’ll love Kasbo.

Hey, baby

Hey, baby

Continue reading

Rock

Nothing fills up my soul quite like some good rock songs. This goes for just about any sub-genre, too. Alternative rock, mathrock, soft rock, just flood my ears without mercy. While I’m going for more general rock with this list, don’t think I won’t have plenty more to satiate your rich, grinding tastes. Indie rock, pop-rock, psychedelic rock — you’ll have plenty to love over the coming Sharing The Goodness posts.

If rock isn’t quite your thing, check out my past Sharing The Goodness post where I looked at some alternative R&B and soul!

tv on the radio

1. “Wolf Like Me” by TV On The Radio

I once had a Zune (remember those?) and it came with some songs pre-downloaded. I listened to each one out of curiosity, deleting and saving as I went, and ended up pretty damn stunned when I hit play on TV On The Radio‘s single, ‘Wolf Like Me’. Not only was it rock, one of my favorite genres of all time, but it was downright bombastic. Every single damn thing about this production simmers and you’re incredibly right that I’m going to gush about it.

I mean, where do you even go wrong with an incredible rock showcase revolving around the mythology of werewolves? The lyrics are right colorful with their almost unsettling depiction of the classic curse and how it can be both an invigorating and terrifying experience for both parties. Now, you could interpret the lyrics as a metaphor for something else…but fuck it. I finally get a song about werewolves (well, a good one) and I’m going to celebrate!

With utterly shredding backing vocals and one whirlwind of an outro that builds and builds and builds to a screaming crescendo, this song all but snatches you by the hand and leads you on a journey. You won’t regret this ride.

When the moon is round and full

Gotta bust that box, gotta gut that fish

Continue reading

What separates a great song lyric from a forgettable one?

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Ever since starting my Sharing The Goodness series I’ve been getting more and more into the art of songwriting and the impact it has on me. When a lyric sticks with me through more than just the melody, and sometimes exactly because of it, it causes me to look inward and analyze myself from head-to-toe. Why did this particular line bring me to tears? What makes this lyric echo in my head more than, say, this one?

Some might cite songwriting’s relevance to whatever they’re currently going through in their life, while others might prefer something more on the poetic side. You can glean a million different interpretations from a single line and below I’m going to take a look at some stand-outs I’ve been thinking about lately.

If you’re interested in some good music from primarily lesser-known artists and bands, check out my past Sharing The Goodness posts where I looked at disco and funk as well as soul, folk and lounge.

smoke and mirrors patrice

1. “Is my head in the clouds or are the clouds in my head?”

from “Smoke And Mirrors” by PATRÌCE

I’m going to start this off with the song that inspired this Sharing The Goodness spin-off in the first place. I picked out the S.G. Lewis remix in my Youtube recommendations line-up a little while back, originally finding it a touch stale…yet I came back to it again and again. There was just something about the echoing, mysterious hook that stuck with me. The best part? Thanks to the stylistically filtered vocals, I actually had no clue what they were originally saying the first few listens! When I looked up the lyrics later, I was alarmed that my favorite part was actually my favorite part.

Too often I wonder just how many of my anxieties are valid and how many are not. What’s actually an outside force trying to rob me of stability or an inside one tearing me to pieces. While there are plenty of amazing lyrics to be explored yet, it’s validating to hear a common inner question put to musical form. I don’t think I’ll ever let this one go.

Continue reading

Just When You Thought Sitcoms Were Washed Up: A Deaf And Interracial View

Better late than never, I say, and nowhere is that more clear than The Two Essences, a sitcom seeking funds over on Indigogo that I stumbled upon through Twitter!

What makes this one special? Let’s just say there aren’t enough television shows out there featuring deaf and interracial families simply living their life. In fact…I don’t think there are any. Consider checking this project out for Deaf Awareness Week if you’ve found yourself wondering how you can help increase deaf visibility, combat stereotypes and help creators get their work out there.

Or, hell, when you’re just plain ol’ tired of being spoonfed the same tropes time and time again.

mom and me

Pictured: me and my mother.

I’m hearing and biracial. My mother is deaf and white. My younger brother is hearing, multiracial and white-passing. I have and had many deaf and hard-of-hearing family members, acquaintances and classmates throughout my life. Our normal is unlike the normal pushed in your average mainstream romantic comedy or long-lasting ‘all-American’ sitcom — at best we’re a token somewhere in the background to create atmosphere and, at worst, not there at all. This ongoing message is more than just disappointment. It’s a downright bizarre, even harmful, way of viewing the world at large. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the myth of normalcy and it sure as hell won’t be the last.

Director and deaf content creator Jade Bryan is eager to showcase the world of deaf people of color where they have previously, over and over and over again, been shunned in favor of the same basic narrative. The story revolves around middle-aged mother Essence Chamberlain-Dubois going back to school and attempting to balance her social life, family life and freelance career. Being a twenty-something caught in the crossroads of progress and regression myself, I can already find plenty to relate to. Unfortunately, I don’t have a million bucks to my name and the shiny title of ‘television agent’.

Continue reading

Disco, House And Funk

Why the hell haven’t I posted any songs in these genres yet? I love the hell out of disco. I grew up listening to Earth, Wind & Fire and The O’Jays, for fuck’s sake. …On the other hand, I can be a touch picky when it comes to house and dance. I love a catchy beat, absolutely, but a redundant bassline and hook that lasts for eight entire minutes with little to shake it up? God, no.

A song starting out with untz untz untz is often the fastest way to turn me, as well as the video, off. When I find the right one, though? I’m a happy camper. Because of that some of the examples on the list may have a bit more of a pop or alternative flavor, but fear not. You’ll get all your classic vibes in good fashion.

Check out my previous post where I rounded up five songs in R&B, hip-hop and soul!

viceroy gavin turek fade out

1. “Fade Out” by Viceroy ft. Gavin Turek

You might have seen Gavin Turek here and there. She’s been gaining notable traction in the pop world as a throwback to an older time, mixing disco and house with a slightly more modern bent. Here she combines her signature sound with Viceroy, giving us the confident and upbeat ‘Fade Out’.

The guitar is sumptuously groovy and contrasts well with sharp, clashing drums and a high, crooning chorus. Dance clubs and radio stations alike would gladly make this piece at home. Standard party lyrics abound, but the best part of this song is not the subject matter but the fact it makes you want to go out and do said subject matter. That being partying, chilling and not stressing overmuch about taxes or a deplorable healthcare system. Give in to that self-care and soak in these pre-summer vibes.

You don’t need my pity, fade out with me

Let’s get lost, the symphony awaits

Continue reading