The Aces Make My Heart Feel Volcanic

The Aces, a girl rock band from  Provo, Utah weren’t on my radar. I didn’t know them from a bar of soap. That is until the glorious day my wonderful blue haired mermadian music loving friend Winona started posting about them on social media. I trust Winona’s music taste like no other. Our whole friendship began because of our love of music. She’s the one who got me into Haim and Bleachers properly, to name a few so I pay attention to who she’s listening to. And boy, am I glad I did? This debut album was killer good.

TRACK 1: VOLCANIC LOVE

The riff on this track played with absolute fire by Katie Henderson gets inside your bones It sounds like the kind of song you’d listen to in summer, cruising down the highway, windows open in a car full of friends as each of you tries with varying success to work on your tan. Cristal Ramirez’s vocals in this one are raw and blistered as though the impact of this great volcanic love (that in one breath makes you want to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction and in the next, you’ve tangled together again) has consumed her vocals, such are the strength of the scars, memories and moments she sings about.

TRACK 2: STUCK

… Sorry, I got distracted. I was too busy dancing. Something tells me this album is all about the riffs. That opening sounds like it could be spun off a 70’s vinyl. The kind kids hide from their parents and play when they’re alone in the house, supposed to be studying. It’s amazing. And then, the drums kick in. They take this sick track to a whole new level. Can you girls and Haim collab soon, pretty please?!

By the way, just a note. I know miscommunication or lack of it at all isn’t healthy for anyone and I wish some of the people who create the music I love would just say what they felt when they did because I want them to be happy. However, when they finally realise what they should have said which might have left them with somewhere to go and the only way they can process this is through words, we get some pretty banging and hella relatable tracks so that’s a bit of a tricky one.

TRACK 3: FAKE NICE 

OK, where has this song been? I’ve needed it. So have you. This is the song you have to resist the urge to passive aggressively send to the people who are nice and charming in front of adults but are awful when it’s just you. The kind of people that when they’re nice to you, it feels like a trap or the ones who just will never be aware enough of the world around them to know how they’ve hurt you, so you have to psych yourself up to be nice. It’s not super obvious, I have personal experience related to this song, is it? Also, I love the way the vocals sound fake nice, dripping in sweet and sarcastic honey.

TRACK 4: LOVIN’ IS BIBLE

Religion and love metaphors make for pretty solid songs. This is no exception. It’s the intoxicating rush of falling in love when you want everything they can give you. It’s all new and exciting. It’s the knowledge that you can’t keep your hands to yourself, I mean you could but why would you want to?

TRACK 5: JUST LIKE THAT:

Love can be blind. This is what happens when the rose coloured glasses come off. Your friends have been trying to tell you for ages that this person is no good, but like most things, for it to really sink in, you have to realise yourself. And when you do, it hurts.

TRACK 6: LAST ONE

This track has amazing rhythm, it’s like a poem, the kind that you conjure when you’ve had a lot of time to think. It sounds like a mantra, something you need to repeat so your heart and brain don’t betray you. It’s hard when you lose pieces of yourself because of someone else. But I think it’s kind of fun to rediscover them and figure out how to put yourself back together.

So far, this one is my favourite. Maybe it’s because I write about my life too and have made similar promises to myself…

TRACK 7: STRONG ENOUGH 

This sounds like a Jack Antonoff record! Can these girls work with him soon? Oh boy… This song is flirtation but also fierceness. It’s daring the other person to be good enough to stay on your mind. But it’s also kind of making them aware that your job is not to make them feel better about their chances of being with you. They’re not lying. 100% honest and independent. If you can’t step up to the plate and compliment, not complete them, then buh-bye.

TRACK 8: HOLIDAY 

This is a song with a sick beat. Love the synth. This one’s a little emotionally confused. You want to be his escape and you know you could do it. Craving closeness. But… at the same time, he’s consuming you, leaving you anxious. Know your worth and the value of your time. Walk away. Live your life. Oh, but you know he probably wants you to stay. Honey, if he really wanted you, there’d be no doubt.

TRACK 9: STAY

This one is desperate spilling of feelings, just as someone’s turned away. You’re shocked and so are they. There’s a pause. A prayer that they feel the same way. And then you hold your breath and both jump exhilaratingly over the edge. Thank God. Trusting someone with your feelings is a big deal, especially if you’re brave enough to not hold back. It’s all heady rush, dizzying touch.

Shoutout to the lyric: “We’re broke but we still party.” Millenials who obsesses over avocado toast or concert tickets, in my case can relate.

TRACK 10: BAD LOVE 

I feel like this one should be compulsory listening for those in the public eye or anyone who feels judged for their relationship. A relationship is between the two people in it. No one else’s business. Let them say what they want. We’ll love in spite of it all. You shouldn’t have to hide that you’re in love because it’s a beautiful privilege. Although there are cases, where being blind and deaf to your friends trying to help you leads to heartbreak, but in the end, no matter what, trust your instinct.

TRACK 11: PUT IT ON THE LINE 

Angelic vocals to open.  The message of the tune = Know your worth. Get rid of people who don’t treat you well. Don’t take the crap. You deserve better. Even if it hurts like hell to let go, it’ll feel better being free. I can relate to this song on so many levels. I wish I couldn’t but that’s life. What happens if they’re the ones who are always supposed to be there, that are the best at playing mind games? Well, if that’s the case even if you fake it till you make it, do your own thing and don’t give them the satisfication they crave of knowing it hurts or that you even give a damn.

TRACK 12: HURRICANE

PIANO! To me, this opening piano sounds a bit like the sister of Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour Enchanted/Wildest Dreams mashup. Beautiful, soft, jagged, sad vocals. I hate it when you’re at the end of something or you’ve hit a roadblock in your story with someone and it leaves you doubting the whole thing. This is heartbreak, spilled over piano keys. You wonder how you could be so stupid to let them in and isn’t it the absolute worst when you start to become guarded and even a little jaded because they hurt you so badly? The past beckons and you wish you could hide there but the thing about truths and pain, no matter how hard it is to take, you can’t un-know something or go back in time to not experience it. It just happens. And you change. But it will feel OK again, someday.

TRACK 13: WAITING FOR YOU 

Sonic hypnotic desperation. Anticipation. Pining. Sometimes when you want someone to understand how you feel, you stress because you’re nervous to spell it out. Well, maybe the other person really wants it but is scared to seem too eager. Get on the same page. Communicate. But understand, it’s hard for us overthinkers. The harmonies are really cool and so is the falsetto.

Overall, this album was 🔥. What a debut. Everyone needs it now. Lorde is a big influence for these girls so I think they’d be happy with the judgement that this album is as much a house party complete colour spectrum soundtrack of youth as Melodrama. These girls are ones we better watch out for, I can’t wait to see what they do next!

Now, all we need is for them to come to Australia. Get on that Gudinski, and Frontier crew, pretty please x

A Golden Almost Hour With Kacey Musgraves

Unfortunately, this third offering from Kacey Musgraves ends up being just shy of 45 golden minutes. When the neatly packaged 13 tracks ended as I listened for the first time on Monday night through flaking headphones, I blinked as though waking from a dream… surely it couldn’t be over yet?

Now if you’re sitting there, having clicked on this and you’re not really sure who Kacey Musgraves is, I’m coming to your rescue but first of all, where have you been?!

OK, Kacey is a Texas-born country artist (I know, I know – you’re all like Hannah we get it, you love country music 🙄) whose on the nose commentary through sharp lyrics and catchy melodies about the truth of family life, growing up and some other things Nashville deems a tad controversial make her unlike anybody else, a rebel of sorts who claims to be no one but herself.

Anyway, Google will tell you everything you need to know about this country queen. Let’s get to unpacking this stellar multi-layered album…

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TRACK 1: SLOW BURN

What a wonderous opening track. It’s soft and slow and kind of sounds like that space between when you’re still awake but you’re really close to falling asleep. Its rhythms are hypnotising, as though you’re actually mesmerised and warm, watching a fire as it actually slowly burns under the stairs or in your cosy living room when you’re snuggled under a blanket. Also, those first few lines of lyrics pack a punch especially “I can be hot. I can be cold. Grandma cried when I pierced my nose.” Relatable. My grandpa, if I recall correctly was not all that happy I got my ears pierced at age 10.

TRACK 2: LONELY WEEKEND

This song starts off with slightly slumped shoulders and pangs of loneliness. It’s accepting that being lonely is OK. And then it’s deciding to pull funny faces in the mirror, blasting tunes and having a solo dance party. This is a FOMO anthem. You know what? It’s OK to be alone on a Friday night and go to bed at 9:00. Don’t compare yourself to other people’s social media fun. I mean, sure it might hurt at first and you might glare daggers at your to-do list as it mocks you, but eventually, you will find beauty and freedom in being alone.

TRACK 3: BUTTERFLIES

If Cupid’s arrow had a theme song, this would be it. Butterflies is that spinning around your room, giddy with feelings heady rush of falling in love. It’s smiling at a text but trying to hide it from the people around you, because it’s new and exciting. It’s not being afraid to laugh with your head thrown back as you walk down the street. It’s thinking you knew all the colours the world could be painted in but realising there’s a whole spectrum you didn’t know about. Shimmery summer days where the sky is a brilliant shade of blue and everything feels light. I know they say you should learn to love yourself before you think about loving someone else but I don’t think that’s true. I think knowing that someone looks at you and doesn’t care what baggage you have but sees their forever makes you realise just how brilliant you are and that those things you’ve been trying to make yourself believe are actually true.

TRACK 4: OH, WHAT A WORLD

From little things, big things grow. Don’t take the world for granted. Recognise the magic in the small things. Be grateful for the people who make it easy to be yourself, the ones you feel like you’ve known forever. This is a really poignant reminder. Love, especially is not something you should take for granted but rather something I hope you see the wonder in, that we’re lucky enough to have our stars align.

TRACK 5: MOTHER

Such a sweet little gem of an interlude. To me, it’s almost a lullaby, stitched from memories and nostalgia. It sounds like the kind of song you’d listen to, when you get to the point in your life where you realise that you really didn’t know that much after all and that life is just a white-knuckled ride for everyone, because no one has done this before and they won’t again. It’s a one-shot situation. So, do me a favour. Hug your mother. Tell her you love her and don’t shy away from acknowledging all the sacrifices she more than likely made to help you to where you are.

TRACK 6: SPACE COWBOY

My heart stopped the first time I heard this song on an unassuming Friday. It left me breathless. I’ve had my fair share of trying to make people stay, when you’ve hit the impasse of the sunset fading. And even though you’re desperate, down on your knees at some point you have to stand up, slowly raise your hands and let them go. But then again, I’ve also been the space cowboy. The person who it was doing no good to stay. Sometimes you do have to close your eyes and run for your own sake, regardless of the pain you know you’re leaving the other person with. It’s OK to put yourself first.  For me, this song is the embodiment of the idea that ‘if you love someone, you set them free and if they were meant to be yours, they’ll come back to you.’

TRACK 7: LOVE IS A WILD THING

The message in this one is simple. Love comes when you least expect it and once it comes for you, there’s no escaping it (not that I know anyone who would want to). I think that’s what makes it magic; its wild and unpredictable style. Not to mention, that once you have it, it’s precious and fragile and light. It helps you forget what life was like before you had it, in the first way. The metaphors here are accurate; it is like flowers in the concrete. Also, the FALSETTO VOCALS!!!

TRACK 8: HAPPY & SAD

I’m not going to lie. This one hit me hard. The line “I’m the kind of person who starts getting kinda nervous when I’m having the time of my life” describes my brain perfectly. I think it could be because I feel things too deeply from wearing my heart on my sleeve. I really struggle to live in the moment. It happens a lot to me at concerts, for example. About halfway through the night, I start to feel a little sad because this moment that in the lead-up has brought me so much joy and is bringing me an indescribable happiness is soon going to be over, with only memories left. Maybe that’s a little fatalistic but it’s the way I feel.

TRACK 9: VELVET ELVIS

OK, first of all this is the cutest name for a song. Everyone has a sketch of what they hope their person will be like and what forever might look like with them. For Kacey, it’s Velvet Elvis. And who better than the high volume haired powder blue suit wearing pelvis-grinding king who in my humble opinion has one of the greatest romantic songs ever written in his catalogue to aspire for? I feel like the whole golden microphone vibe goes well with this daydream…

TRACK 10: WONDER WOMAN

Being on the same page with people is wonderful, isn’t it? Knowing they’ll love you for who you are, warts and all. You don’t need to be a superhero. You can laugh till you cry or snort and then maybe in the same breath even,  drown in tears and snotty tissues. It doesn’t matter. You can talk about hard things and shatter perfection. You can grow. You can get way too excited over simple things. You can be whoever you are. Isn’t that liberating?

TRACK 11: HIGH HORSE

Now, I can hear y’all (yeah, I said y’all) saying you don’t like country music because it’s just too twee or whatever. To save myself from going blue in the face while I argue that country music is brilliant, let me just ask you to press play on this track. Tell me, did THAT sound like country music to you? Did you hear that dance beat with flecks of subtle banjo? You pushed the envelope Kace, and I love it. I think Shania, Taylor and Kelsea definitely approve. But, aside from all that, this song is relatable. Who doesn’t have people in their life that they wish would get off the high horse and stop thinking they’re better than everyone else? I know I do but I don’t kiss and tell so ssh…

TRACK 12: GOLDEN HOUR

Excuse me, while I float along dreamily on a cloud to this love song (: It’s so pretty. Such soft and warm vocals. I love that this is the title track because it means that the love she feels has infused every part of her life and that’s amazing. Ruston, thank you for inspiring such beautiful tunes. I hope we all experience a love story and married bliss like this.

TRACK 13: RAINBOW

I knew as soon as I saw the title that this song was going to hurt because it would strike a chord but also heal and boy, was I right. A lot of hard things are happening for me right now and to be truthful, without a hint of melodrama, they always kind of are go varying degrees whether they pulse in the background or slap me in the face. I don’t know if I can describe how hard I hope the idea “that there’s always been a rainbow hanging over your head” is true for me. I really want anyone who is struggling right now to listen to this one and know that it has to get better. Hope is the most powerful thing we have.

This album is overall beautifully brilliant. Hope you like my review

Hannah xo ❤ The Jukebox Junkie

What’s In The Jukebox? March/April Mood:

So, I’m a self-obsessed music geek who spends way too much, getting down to sick beats all over the place. A lot of my favourite artists have been sharing playlists lately and I listen to all kinds of music, new and old so I’ve decided I’ll be regularly sharing 10 tracks that I’m loving across all kinds of space and time. But because this is only a taster of the fun to come, we’ll go with 5 today.

If you’ve heard these before, hope you enjoy jamming!

In no particular order, (because I am an incredibly indecisive person), here they are;

  1. 1950 – King Princess (2018)

OK, so King Princess is an awesome new find of mine. She is the first act to be signed to Mark Ronson’s new label(he’s the guy that gave us the bangers Valerie and Uptown Funk). And if this song is any indication, she’s going to be around for a long while yet. I should also acknowledge that it was Harry Styles who led me to her because of his cryptic lyric posting…

2. Tequila – Dan + Shay (2018)

This country jam hit me in the heart. I’m not a drinker, but who doesn’t know what it feels like to have memories of a person you don’t want to take up space anymore surface at the worst times? Been there.  Also, on a completely unrelated yet equally important note, props to Dan + Shay for expanding the mainstream visual romantic narrative to include somebody disabled. I’m not deaf, but I am in a wheelchair so it means a lot that you show someone with a disability is  capable of being in a relationship, being desired and quite simply the choice of someone able-bodied.

3. Call Out My Name – The Weeknd (2018)

He’s back. Full disclosure, The Weeknd isn’t really my cup of tea in terms of music I like to listen to. But I was lost in the rabbit hole that is Youtube, laughing hysterically over the on-point reactions of AJayII when I came across this track and her reaction (which you can watch here) But this track grabbed me, maybe because (without sounding too cheesy) you can feel the pain emanating from him. I’m not one to diagnose the emotional DNA of songs because I’m a writer myself and I definitely use my own experiences and real people in what I create but, I think it’s self-explanatory who this message in a bottle was meant for…

4. Trust Fund Baby – Why Don’t We

British boys singing a ridiculously infectious pop tune. Who knew that formula would work?! OK, but all jokes aside, this tune had me involuntarily bopping from the minute I heard it. It’s bound to get stuck in your head and I’m sure we’re on the cusp of it getting some serious radio play here in Oz, courtesy of my girl Ash London, Smallzy and all the other high energy contemporary radio DJ’s that keep us company on the drive home or in our rooms when we need to enter the cleaning zone.

Finally, the 5th track I’m telling you all about is a throwback because I’m an old soul…

OK, so if you don’t know me, I’m a huge Fleetwood fan. Steve Nicks, in my opinion, is the mystical leader of a witch coven that Lorde, Lana and Florence call home. Silver Springs is a forgotten track, a hidden gem off the album that 1 in 4 American households own. It’s the song Stevie Nicks cried for, as it was cut from the standard version for being too long and softly heartbroken instead of the well-disguised upbeat quasi-flippancy of ‘I Don’t Want To Know’ which rounds out this killer album. With the kind of lyrics that leave me emotionally  winded – ‘You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you’ this song is just another shining jewel in the crown that is Rumors, for someone who is left fascinated by the twisty multi-sided double crossing shapes that are the hearts of Fleetwood Mac (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, get yourself to Google and settle in for the rollercoaster that was the band, with some piping hot tea and something that will stop your jaw from living permanenently on the floor).

OK, that’s enough jabber from me. Resume normal programming, go back to your grooving.

I just want you to remember three things for me:

  1. You are good enough and you can always feel free to be whatever makes you happiest with me on this blog and across social media.
  2. Treat people with kindness, always. Trust me, it’s actually a lot easier than any alternative.
  3. You are never too cool to lose your mind over whatever music you like (screw guilty pleasures, just love what you love) and it’s OK to have an interest in pop culture. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy, uneducated or shallow and uncaring about the world. It just means you can give your social activist brains a little R&R.

I hope it’s nice, where you are.

Love Hannah x