Weekly Roundup of ListenOnRepeat New Music Reviews for Jan. 18– Jan. 24, 2021

new music reviews

Eminem appeared in the new video for his song “Higher” during ESPN’s UFC 257 Countdown: Poirier versus McGregor 2 pre-show on ABC. The clip for the Music To Be Murdered By – Side B track highlights film from ESPN’s inclusion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship with Eminem playing the song in a boxing ring.

Meanwhile, here are the latest music reviews from last week on ListenOnRepeat. Take a look!

[FULL ALBUM] K/DA – ALL OUT – EP [HQ Audio]

It is the kind of idea that would have sounded crazy a few years ago but now seems to make perfect sense. The uninitiated would be forgiven for not quite knowing what they’d landed on should they come across this album on streaming: huge numbers, high-quality animations, and a group they’d never heard of …

Well, one of the reasons for such a response would be that the group doesn’t actually exist. Yep, K/DA is a fictional girl band that exists in the realm of League of Legends, the incredibly popular online game that contains an entire world of its own. ALL OUT is the first extended play from this virtual group.

Released on November 6, it is still at the top of K-pop charts, having taken on many of the traits and visual elements that girl bands go for in Korea. Riot Games and Stone Music Entertainment (a K-pop company) are the brains behind the outfit and they seem to have struck gold with this mix of real-life and fictional creation.

Fans know the virtual members’ names, follow their lore and buy the music as if it was a genuine article. Artists who have contributed vocals include the likes of Bea Miller, Madison Beer, Jaira Burns, Aluna, Behuh Boom, Annika Wells, and TWICE, a giant of a group that is up there with Blackpink.

It will come as no surprise that fans can’t get enough of this intriguing project, with many commenting on just how absurd the idea is: “When a gaming company makes better music than an actual music company,” and “I refuse to believe Riot is anything other than a music production company.” The first single, “Baddest,” is about as catchy as it gets.

Watch [FULL ALBUM] K/DA – ALL OUT – EP

Samm Henshaw – All Good (Official Video)

“It’s all good, baby/ Just think I need to loosen up” … is Samm Henshaw all good? This is a track that tests that theory, describing the ways he feels good and then doesn’t feel so good on a daily basis. It is a relatable track, one that attempts to chart some of the ebbs and flows that come and go for all of us.

The video starts with Henshaw in a dead-end job and looks at the boredom he faces. Times are tough and he is going through ups and downs that are difficult to anticipate. What it means in context is means is that time is moving slow, feet are heavy, and that tie he’s got on just feels a little too tight.

What does the bigger picture look like? Well, Henshaw is able to find happiness in the simple things – he’s got seasoning for his chicken, joy in his spirit, a spring in his step and all his worries can be left on the nightstand. It is all about perspective.

Both in the music and the lyrics, life’s challenges are wrapped in a funky, upbeat tone, and that captures the spirit of Henshaw’s music in general. He first got internet recognition for his track “Broke” which was a one-room set-piece that dealt with similar themes: amongst the furniture and clutter of his room, Henshaw lamented his life, speaking about how he got sacked from his job, before finding silver linings.

In this video, too, space is part of the action – the clock’s move and images pop up in reference to the lyrics. One viewer summed up the effect: “his videos’ visuals are always very vivid and colorful! That makes me feel like his music is literally ‘alive’! Thanks for giving me this happiness by making goooood music Samm.”

Watch Samm Henshaw – All Good (Official Video)

BAEKHYUN 백현 ‘놀이공원 (Amusement Park)’ Live Video

“Come hang out anytime/ Don’t worry about what others think/ If you feel like there’s not enough time/ I’ll open at night everyday” … there is a strange and intriguing metaphor at the heart of “Amusement Park,” the new track by BAEKHYUN (K-pop star signed to SM Entertainment and known for his work in groups as well as for his solo career). While the image of a romantic trip to the amusement part is etched into popular culture, BAEKHYUN takes it a step further by describing himself as the amusement part that is waiting to be discovered.

While there is a lot of romance here, the metaphor might seem a little fantastical to Anglophone ears after all lyrics have been translated: “It’s filled with dreams and love/ Let’s go to the mysterious world/ Splendid fireworks/ A wonderful parade just for the two of us/ I’m your amusement park.” There is a sincerity and even a sombreness to the style of delivery as BAEKHYUN stands in front of a carousel singing from the heart.

In this live video, he is joined by a quartet of musicians dressed in white and beige, who deliver a smooth performance to match the palette and aesthetic used for the video. Apart from sparse electric drums finger clicks are used to establish a beat and the guitar, as well as keyboard, are never given full reign – everything is stripped back and stylish from start to finish. It is all about softness and warmth, a visual interpretation of the fuzzy feeling young lovers must get in these situations, and of the nostalgia that follows when looking back.

Unsurprisingly the set-piece works very well, with one fan responding perfectly to the color and tone: “This song sounds the way a warm latte feels.”

Watch BAEKHYUN 백현 ‘놀이공원 (Amusement Park)’ Live Video

Words

Barry Gibb and Dolly Parton might be the collaboration that fans didn’t know they needed. While younger pop and country listeners might not have heard of Gibb and will be much more familiar with the name of his old group (the Bee Gees), Dolly Parton has become an icon and she will surely bring in a new section of listeners that Gibb might not otherwise have been able to command. Yet, it is a Bee Gees track that they have taken on. “Words” is a song from 1968 that talks of the power of speech and communication, over actions in the fames of love: “It’s only words and words are all I have to take your heart away.”

The song has been released as part of the album GREENFIELDS: The Gibb Brothers Songbook, Vol. 1. Barry Gibb has always been active in protecting his family’s musical legacy from the spin doctors who would seek to paint a picture whose truth he doesn’t connect with and this is a way of getting the right story down on paper. Also, it gives other musicians a document to listen to and learn from. In order to give this release a boost, Gibb (the last remaining brother and Bee Gees member) has partnered with other legends like Parton, as well as Olivier Newton-John, Sheryl Crow, and Miranda Lambert. The album is therefore subtitled, Barry Gibb & Friends. 

This version of words takes the form of a duet and Parton kicks off proceedings. The familiar lyrics and memorable melody with chimes with older listeners and prick up the ears of the younger generations, though they will certainly find the production dated. For his part, Gibb’s famous falsetto is nowhere to be seen and who can blame him, it was quite a physical feat. Instead, they deliver a warming reinterpretation of a golden oldie.

Watch Words

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