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LIV – Wings of Love

How many lives do I have to wait?
How many hearts does it take to break this body?
‘Til I feel like somebody?
How many lives do I have to wait?
How many hearts does it take to break this body?
‘Til I feel like somebody?

I wanna live, wanna die on a silver lining
I wanna ride the wings of love
When I die, don’t you cry, I’ll be flying by you
I’ll be riding wings of love..”

Tom Aspaul – Burnt Out

Honestly, this is what the future of pop music should sound like. It’s got a little of everything – a saucy house-pop synth bassline that just melts as it flows by. Crisp, danceable percussion that skips around and kicks you in your ass, begging you to move a little. And a subtle R&B undertone that gives it depth and lots of replay value. And somehow it feels classic and timeless. I think I could have heard this in ’92 and said the same thing about it, thinking it’s the future of pop. Even if this isn’t actually the future of pop, it’s definitely not a bad thing to SOUND like the future of pop.

Tom Aspaul’s whole LEFT EP carries with it this depth. It’s sophisticated and and smart, and compliments certain memories really well, whether good or bad. That’s one of my favorite things about great music. “Burnt Out” makes me think of less happy times with a smile, happy to indulge the thoughts using the music as my security blanket. It’s easy for music to get you riled up in the moment, or to feel sad in the moment. But music with true depth helps you look backwards and come to terms with unresolved thoughts, and also helps you look eagerly into the future. It’s your partner as you traverse rocky territory. That’s true art – a tour guide into self exploration and discovery.

Flybear – Lies

This is refreshing. I hear a bit of that late 90’s Timabaland and Missy Elliot swag in here, and it makes me miss how much fun music was then. It all seems so serious right now – reflecting the darker times on our planet for sure – but still. Hiphop is so linear, you’re either in or you’re out. Pop music is all drops and guest vocals, and rock music is apparently hibernating for the winter/year/maybe longer.

There’s awesome stuff out there no doubt, but this funky, groovy, fun, free, wide-open track from Flybear is a reminder that everyone needs a little strutting music sometimes. Doesn’t this song make you want to go outside, saunter down the street, nod at on-lookers and basically carry yourself like you’re top dawg of the solar system? I’m gonna make this song my official theme music, just like how Jack Spade required the services of KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions to accompany him on his strolls down the street. Honestly if you haven’t seen “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka” please do so. KRS and co. actually appear in the movie to play the main character’s theme music as he struts his stuff. D-Nice is wearing a full turntable set-up around his neck for f**ks sake. They even wrote an original song for him/the movie called “Jack Of Spades.” CLASSIC.

But I digress, my point here is that Flybear has taken music back to a fun, funky time that is sorely missed, whether we realize it or not. Hopefully this is the beginning of a revival. The Personal Theme Music Era.

SRNO – Stay Sane (Feat. Naaz)

The album cover for SRNO’s “Stay Sane” invokes the strangest mixture of medieval and surrealist vibes. It’s fitting for a track named “Stay Sane,” sure, but the music itself is the virtual opposite of audible insanity. Moving at a slowly plodding pace, keys twinkle with glee as Naaz gives a whole new definition to ethereal, her vocals delivering a wealth of heavenly melodies.

With that being said, it’s funny how album artwork plays such a pivotal role in how music is perceived. Even with the line explicitly drawn between the song and its visual representation, it’s impossible to shake that surrealist bent when listening to “Stay Sane;” nothing feels out of place, yet something in the back of the mind begs to differ.

To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t imagine most of my favorite albums without that visual accompaniment; the abrasive nothingness of Yeezus, the dark tones of Come Now Sleep, or the colorful glee of 6 Kiss, all working hand in hand with the music. It drives their respective natures intended by the artists home, and when it conflicts with the music to a degree like SRNO’s “Stay Sane,” it makes it all the more interesting.

DJ Grand Wizard Theodore – Subway Theme

The sample from one of the most iconic hip hop album intro’s comes from a movie 80’s movie about hip hop culture called Wild Style. If you haven’t seen it there’s no way we can ever see the world from the same lens, stop pretending to be my friend and let’s not even try. The album is Nas’s Illmatic, heard of that? The scene from Wild Style is the classic story of a family member berating, judging and putting down an artist for wasting his time on “garbage.” It’s a story all too familiar for anyone trying to be anything non-traditional…

Everything in my life came from music and I mean everything. When people tell me I’m wasting time following my reality it’s the biggest tell of little they know me and how little I should take them serious. At the end of the scene the big brother tells Hector that’s there’s nothing out here for him. As if sharing his name wasn’t enough, Hector’s response made me cry when I first heard it. Not what he said specifically but what it represented. “Oh yes there is, this…” Then Subway Theme drops and scenes of bomb trains run as a metaphor for hip hop culture. They represented everything he was seeing in the streets, what he was creating, where the world was going. This movie was released in 1983 homes, I don’t have to tell you what hip hop culture went on to become. What a beautiful reminder to believe in yourself, trust your gut and work hard. Unless people really care to, no one is going to see your vision until you create it. Beyond that they will want you to stop. What great man would become great listening to people who doubt? Enjoy.

Brother: Hector! I thought you were supposed to be in bootcamp!
You know I was gonna shoot your ass?!
I outta rearrange your face, that’s what I should do.
What the fuck is with the doo rag on your head anyway?
I don’t know what the you were doing to my crib but I want this shit outta my room.

Hector: What you mean shit, what shit?

Brother: This shit, fucking garbage.

Hector: Hey this isn’t garbage, this is something you don’t get to see in the infantry my man.

Brother: People are sick of it! Have you been busted for this yet?

Hector: Never, never!

Brother: You mean to to tell me that I’ve been busting my ass, I’m sending money home for you and mom and you’re sitting around doing this shit!?
You should be honored a medal for this!

Stop fucking around and be a man, there ain’t nothing out here for you!

Hector: Oh yes there is, this..”