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Medley’s Monthly Mixtape: August

in music

Welcome back to Medley’s Monthly Mixtape. You already know the deal. If this is your first time here, then let me break it down for you.

The songs listed below are for listeners who are looking for a great time, new music, or just some good vibes to spread around. When you plug these new tracks into your friend’s aux, they will have no choice but to make you the designated DJ for all future road trips to come.

Fake Denim by Quinn XCII

quinn-xcii

The first song is a pop single from an upcoming artist by the name of Quinn XCII. The song tells a story through the artist’s eyes who is breaking up with his girlfriend because she is a gold digger that consistently drains him of money that he doesn’t have.

Quinn XCII‘s voice has small, indie grooves attached to it. Mixed in with the funky snaps and synths, this record has pop written all over it. I can imagine Quinn’s complaints of hosting a spoiled partner, being all over the radio at this very minute.

Anybody, girlfriend or not, can hum this tune on the daily. Quinn is singing from the point of view of a penny pincher, which in this economy is highly relatable.

Lonely by Mac Ayres

Mac Ayres designed a beautiful smooth R&B/Soul jam when he created this song. “Lonely” is a very laid back track with a soft-toned melody. The song has a very repetitive style in terms of rhythm, which might seem annoying. However, when the chorus kicks in, you forget all about the music’s faults…they suddenly disappear.

The message is adorable to the core. Ayres touches on the vulnerability that comes with sleeping alone. His partner struggles with the cold feeling of Ayres’ absence, regardless of their conflicting issues in the relationship.

“Lonely” is another relatable listed track. There will come a time, if one has not yet presented itself, where the character of the warmth  laying next to you won’t matter. The fact that a body is there will bring you enough happiness within itself.

Sirens by Sonder

Here is another smooth R&B/Soul track that you need to add to your musical library. “Sirens” is a highlighted track off of Sonder’s debut album, who got his start on SoundCloud.

vmms8wgg     The intro sets off the mood with a sensual chord progression, played solely on the grand piano. The record then goes a cappella with only the artist’s snaps to back up his soulful voice. Afterwards, a guitar joins in the mix and eventually all instruments link together to create a symphony of powerful soft soul.

The message of “Sirens” is a miniature autobiography of Sonder, with the overlaying mantra singing, “If I closed the door and shut my mouth I wouldn’t be here right now. If I cared what they was talking about I wouldn’t be here right now.” Basically meaning, do not be afraid to say what you truly mean and be yourself while doing so.

 

Navajo by Masego

The sample on “Navajo” is beautifully put together at the first 20 seconds of listening to the track. The beat that follows the cartoonish voice goes harder than a ton of bricks. If all of that is not enough, Masego’s voice is a unique piece of art that is underestimated to the nth degree.

The message of “Navajo” is a bit confusing, and to this day I do not fully comprehend it. To my best  interpretation, Masego has fallen for a girl who he thought was “an Indian” (Native American). Regardless of her true race, she left him. Now, Masego is sad and reflecting on the beauty he let slip through his fingers.

The variance in Masego’s beats, rhythm, and sound is astounding. This single must have taken a lot of time to prepare due to all of the small parts that make it amazing. Masego’s saxophone skills are killer on the overall set as well.

Waterfalls by Luke Christopher

“Waterfalls” introduction gives off the impression of a dance hit that is waiting to build up, however it is the exact opposite. As the song progresses, the tone of the music grows softer ae38f8867dcaa922906f2bb41a94c4be-1000x1000x1and more elegant. Luke Christopher lists off things that are associated with fairytale love stories when in reality, the true definition of love is “you and me.”

Christopher’s voice contains a certain swag that contrasts with his beautiful, soulful, held-out notes in his music. As a producer, singer, rapper, and songwriter, Christopher is the complete dream team wrapped up in one male.

I would hope to hear more music like this…bless the mainstream airwaves of local cities. Regardless if this song makes it big or not, you can save the day by introducing your friends to the amazing sound that is Luke Christopher’s “Waterfalls”.

Blame by Tora

“Blame” is the most simple of the songs listed above, and one of the most well constructed. It is an electro-pop hit that has alternative written all over it. Tora repeats their one line over and over again against a groovy in-sync beat. “Blame” is an overall well produced piece of work.

Tora doesn’t charm the listener with his voice until 1:48 in the song. Despite “Blame’s” EDM vibes, the song never fully goes over the edge. Chiller than the arctic, but grooves deeper than the record it’s plastered on- this song is a must play.

Belong to You by Sabrina Claudio

sabrina_claudio     Forget the arctic, Sabrina Claudio made this song to be chiller than all of the North Pole. “Belong to You” is the ultimate jam to claim your partner. It sounds like a Sunday relaxation theme song you put on when cruising down the street on a beautiful evening.

The message consists of Claudia commanding her partner to grab hold of her because she belongs to him. The gist is clear and straight forward. What makes this tune stand out is the delivery.

Claudia has the vocals of a literal angel. The techno synths that mash off of each other during the chorus, is icing on the cake of sound that makes her music. At any moment in time when you begin to doubt if beauty can be heard by the human ear, then turn this track on and just lean back to enjoy.

 

 

Main Image Credit: Luke Christopher

Medley’s Musical Horoscope

in music/videos

This is an interactive way to learn more about yourself and find new music to listen to while you are at it.

Don’t be selfish enough to stop with your own sign. Find your friend’s sign, your lover’s sign, and while you’re at, it go ahead and find your dog’s sign, idc. Comment below what you got!

Aries

Seasons by Greyson Chance– You will make a comeback from whatever rut you are in like Greyson did with this song. You will make a huge confession like Greyson recently came out as gay. Last but not least, you will look up this song and soon relate to its tale of moving on and overcoming adversity.

Taurus

Mineral by OKBADLANDS– You are seriously just vibing through life right now, and like this song you refuse to lose ties with a specific someone. In the end, your choice to keep that special person by your side will work out for the better.

Gemini

Surround Me by LEON– You will soon be surrounded by something that makes you happy. Like Leon, your surprise will not come into action until you take the first step into getting off your butt and letting it take you all the way. When it happens, you will know and serenity will envelope your soul.

Cancer

Flat Champagne by Dan Caplen– This upcoming month, you will get turnt on life due to something miniscule. You will enjoy your friends and have a good time, for no other reason than just because.

Leo

Am I the Only One by Jacquie– You are feeling like a real outsider lately as Jacquie sings “Am I the only one who’s not okay, everything I know is about to change, and I can’t help it.” She is right. You can not help it, and that is okay. Be different, and soon the insiders will follow your lead. Also you should jam out to this song while you are at it.

Virgo

Aftertaste by TOTEM– You will come into contact with a new love. It could be a man, woman, food, or activity. Whatever it is, you will find yourself heavily involved and obsessed with this new found love. The Aftertaste will course throughout you, so maybe let it happen.

Libra

The Bird by Anderson Paak– A bird will come with some word to you. This word will put you into motion. You will put all of your focus onto this word, and you will make a change. Follow the greats, and hear this tune while you are at it.

Scorpio

Omw by Johnny Balik– You are on your way somewhere. The journey will be great, but whatever is waiting for you on the other side is even greater. You may travel far, but it will be worth it. Try not to speed on your way there because regardless, you will eventually be there. You will love it.

Sagittarius

Hi Grade by Angel– You will find a ‘smoke buddy’ per say. Even if you do not smoke, a good ride or die friend is on their way. Down the line there will be an opportunity to make your relationship more than friends. You do not have to take it any where you do not want to, but the opportunity will most definitely be there.

Capricorn

All These Kisses by Tammy RiveraWhether they are kisses or love or material things, you will soon shower someone in some much needed attention. This person has been down in the dumps for a while and they were waiting on your devotion. Basically speaking, you will soon make somebody’s day.

Aquarius

Learn To Let Go by Kesha– Finally, you are exorcising the demons inside of you and learning to let go of something. Eventually, this memory or thing will be fully rid of your system, and off of your shoulders.

Kesha-Learn-To-Let-Go-Official-Video

Learn To Let Go (Official Video) by Kesha on VEVO.

Pisces

Boys by Charlie XCX– This could mean one of three things. 1. You have boys on your mind like crazy, and will not be cured until you get one… good luck. 2. You are a boy who has a secret admirer who is closer to you than you would think… address them and break them from their spell. 3. Neither of those options fit you, and this is only your theme song because one of your favorite artists who pops up in Charlie XCX’s famous music video that features a ton of famous male musicians.

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Boys (Official Video) by Charli XCX on VEVO.

Main Image Credit: Gabi Xavier

Soundcloud Can’t Afford to Die

in music

How It all Started:

Soundcloud was started in Berlin in 2013 by two swedes named Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss. Their vision became a reality when they launched what is now the “Youtube of audio”.

Their motive lives on, as their platform allows all users to share audio for free. It became the perfect way to discover new, underground, and upcoming artists.

The Copyright and Moolah Struggle:

All of the gossip circling around, that SoundCloud only has mere days of survival left on its clock, were debunked by famous artist Chance the Rapperchance-rapper-gifHe may have eased everyone’s minds with his phone call to HQ and tweets, but Chance did not give any money to the company. He was just checking up on the website’s stability.

The truth is, SoundCloud is totally capable of staying afloat due to some inside investors, and Ashton Kutcher.

Still, just because it has the resources to maintain itself for now, does not mean that everything is ok.

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So go ahead and start writing your thank-you cards now to the investors keeping SoundCloud alive now, because it is only moments away from becoming a non-profit that relies on donations, which only millionaires can afford to dish out.

Nearly half of their staff were fired in layoffs so the company could “ensure our path to long-term independent success.

This has been going on for awhile. In 2013, they lost $29 million that could not be backed up in advertisement sales.

On top of that, every day is a struggle with copyright issues, being that their platform is free to the public, and anything can be uploaded.

There is no surprise as to why SoundCloud is on the struggle bus. It’s competitors have already sunken ship.

Rdio, a streaming service that arrived in America before Spotify, declared bankruptcy in 2015, when it was losing a mere $2 million a month. Pandora, which picked up Rdio’s scraps, has fallen into the fiscal embraceof SiriusXM. Looking at other sites where, like SoundCloud, artists can upload their own songs, survivors are all too rare. YouTube, still going strong as the most-visited streaming site overall a dozen years after its purchase by Google, is an exception. From MP3.com to the Internet Underground Music Archive, from imeem to MySpace, good luck recovering your old streams. –Pitchfork

Spotify is the main competitor, and their credibility and support shows no signs of financial struggle.

SoundCloud Forever Soap Box Speech:

I did not mistype this headliner. Contrary to popular belief that SoundCloud cannot afford to live, the more important matter at hand, is what were to happen if SoundCloud disappeared from our lives forever.

Reason number one as to why our lives would never be the same without SoundCloud, is the liberty of using our first amendment on a free platform. There are multiple podcasts who utilize SoundCloud to voice their opinions on issues freely. Unlike YouTube, 1504105481963488036SoundCloud does not demand as much attention as a video would. All the creators ask for is your ears. Even artists take use of their first amendment to sing and write whatever music they so please without having to pay for a big production company.

Reason number two why this hypothetical loss would be a travesty, is the loss of discovery that would come with it. Think about all of the amazing talent we obtained from SoundCloud. Not just underground artists, but the mainstream artists that have risen from SoundCloud made millions without having to pay the website any royalties.

Chance the Rapper released his first mixtape through SoundCloud, and to this day he still refuses to sell his music for profit. Instead the Rapper makes money through his merchandise and inexpensive sold out shows.

Bryson Tiller, R&B legend, came up through SoundCloud. There, he was discovered by Drake, and the rest is history.tumblr_o0jqb9uj0o1sa8rcbo1_1280

Lorde released her first EP through SoundCloud titled The Love Club. It included the song “Royals” which she now owns a grammy for.

Leon Bridges, Kaytranda, Lil Pump, Flatbush Zombies, and more have been exposed to high-end labels due to their music being distributed on the free sharing platform that is SoundCloud.

The third reason why SoundCloud cannot afford to die, is the concept of free music whenever you want it. Music is an art form that changes people. Music defines our history, culture, and way of life. Without a free outlet to allow anyone to hear their favorite artist or discover their own true sound, consumer America will win. The quality of free music would be lost in Youtube Ads and clips.

Don’t worry. I highly doubt that SoundCloud is going anywhere, due to the list of artists it helped to jump-start careers. At the speed which Chance ran to attempt to save the company, this business, soon to be a non-profit donation center for millionaire artists, is surely not going anywhere.

 

Baby Driver: The Musical

in film

When I first saw Baby Driver‘s trailer, I was immediately conflicted.

Heist movies are usually intriguing because of, ya know, the heist. The driver (and main character) almost has zero involvement in the tense, action-packed sequence of all the robberies. The characters don’t sneak through invisible lasers or get into life-threatening shootouts with the cops, so I had no clue what I was going to be looking at for the next few hours.

On the other hand, this movie has Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx, so at worst, it’ll be an uninteresting plot line with some memorable acting. (Sorry that a 21 year old single guy didn’t get excited to see Ansel Elgort, but I don’t think The Fault in Our Stars was aimed at me anyways.)

After a flood of positive reviews, I dug deep into my barren college wallet and shelled out the money to see what Baby Driver had to offer. I was not disappointed. The stars that I assumed would take over the movie were merely supporting characters to the music of the movie itself. If soundtracks could win Best Actor, the Oscars would turn into the Grammys.

It wasn’t just that the soundtrack was well put together, it was the timing of the songs. They were perfectly incorporated into every scene. Heralded award winning actors had to play catch up for 2 hours. As they stepped, shot, and spoke on beat, you listened to the perfect playlist, generating whatever emotions the director wanted you to feel.

As I stepped out of the theater, I was taken aback by all the songs stuck in my head in tandem with flashes of the movie’s most memorable scenes. We’re taught to listen from the very first time we annoy our parents, and we finally have a good reason to. Sit back, relax, and let Baby and his mixtapes take you on a wild ride.

Here are a few favorite tracks that are featured in the movie:

Main Image Credit: Sony Pictures

Divorce Songs

in television

HBO’s new series, Divorce finished its 1st season this year, and recently announced that a second season will be picked up. In the realm of all the action-packed excitement of shows that HBO has to offer (Game of Thrones, Westworld, True Detective), it is easy to gloss over some of the simpler, more idiosyncratic shows like Girls or Insecure. Divorce falls into the latter type of HBO program.

Created by Sharon Horgan and starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Hayden Church, the show takes place in New York, zoomed in on a married couple in their 40’s/50’s. It depicts a major fork in their marriage, and how they navigate through a divorce for the first time. The subject matter is bleak, but there are wonderful moments of humor peppered throughout every episode. Church definitely contributes most to the humor with his odd temper and sometimes inappropriate social awkwardness. Parker plays a very annoyed and very tired wife and mother to perfection. One element of the show that the audience may notice, is that most of the music is straight out of the 70’s. Every closing credit is accompanied by a classic 70’s song by musicians that range from Supertramp to Little River Band.

While Church’s character, Robert, learns that his marriage might be ending, he starts going through his old records. It’s a little cliché to have a man going through a mid-life crisis, re-discover his old records, but there’s a reason that always happens in movies and TV. People resort to music when they cannot express their feelings. When an old song from high school days comes on the radio, it automatically transports the listener back to that time. When Robert finds his old Yes! albums (which is a delightfully hilarious band for his character to love), he remembers what makes him passionate. He remembers what it’s like to feel alive again. The fact that so much of the music comes from the 70’s is a very poignant move by the music supervisor for Divorce, Michael Hill.

In a way, choosing music from this decade makes the audience remember that this is the music that the couple must have listened to all the time when they were younger, more carefree…more in love. It creates a lovely nostalgia in the show that impeccably contrasts with the struggles the couple faces in modern times. There are some rare moments in the show when modern music plays. However, when this happens, it’s usually during an awkward or uncomfortable situation. A great example of that: Parker’s character, Frances, is riding in the car with Robert and Coldplay’s Paradise is on the radio. It is at the part when Chris Martin is singing “para- para- paradise” over and over, and Robert is singing along with it…badly. He just keeps repeating that part over and over and the audience can see that Frances is boiling with irritation. Finally she can’t stand it anymore and abruptly turns off the radio without a word. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Coldplay, but any time modern music is playing, it’s almost like the couple just doesn’t fit in…much like how they don’t quite gel with the life that they have created for each other. The music in this series echoes the melancholy of this couple’s marriage as well as the grating harshness of their divorce.

Season 2 of Divorce is expected to air this fall.

Main Image Credit: HBO

Medley’s Monthly Mixtape: July

in music
Terror Jr.

     Welcome to the domain where underground art rises from the ashes for a brief moment like a phoenix, only to land in that pretty little device of yours to get played on repeat. Each month it shall be my pleasure to fulfill your soul with new music that deserves mass appreciation.

     There is something for everybody on this list, so if you feel like you’ve yet to find your match, keep scrolling and it should appear. The overall theme , as monthly stereotypes would suggest, for July is summertime madness. Therefore, let’s get started with a nice beach sunset over the water, which is the physical embodiment of the first track.

Out Like a Light – Ricky Montgomery & The Honeysticks

    Ricky and the gang stand as one of the best upcoming alternative soft rock artists of early 2017. The harmonies at the beginning of this song that touch over the silky smooth grooves are only a small fraction of what makes this song easy to listen to.

    My favorite feature about this song that differs from Montgomery’s other great soft rock vibes, is how soft it is. If you are a listener that appreciates glassy, alternative music, then this is the track for you.

    One word to define this song would be ‘escalation’ because of how steady and elegantly Montgomery brings the listener on this trippy rollercoaster ride to paradise.

Walls Could Talk – Halsey

Halsey is obviously not the most underground of all artists, but this song unfortunately is. Walls Could Talk is one minute and forty two seconds shy of becoming a hit single, and the only issue is that it was too short for the radio waves.

This song is subjectively the best track on the album due to its chord progression, back track melody on the synths that intertwine with Halsey’s killer vocals, and the fact that the choir backing her are my idea of what walls would actually sound like if they “could talk”.

Halsey’s album, “hopeless fountain kingdom”, as a unit, graced the new Americana with it’s alternative sound. There is something on there for everyone who cares about pop music on a large scale.

Complicated – MIKExAngel

This new song summed up in three words: classic R&B vibes. This artist has worked closely with Trey Songz in the past and it shows. The random “Oh, no no’s” in between melodic runs plays into the classic good ‘ol R&B schtick.

This made the list because everybody needs a small dose of R&B in their lives every now and then, and this gentleman respects the genre. He does it’s justice while adding new age flavor.

We Find Love – Daniel Caesar

   Caesar takes his fans to church with this soulful tune. Just like Out Like a Light, this song is very soft with a choir to back the R&B singer. However, this song has no ties to religion whatsoever, solely love.

     We Find Love is a step onto the beach, and it’s physical embodiment would be walking on the water or that warm tingly feeling when the sun absorbs into your skin.

    Caesar is well known for his alternative R&B piano based sound. With this song in particular, there is a melancholy, universal message behind it. The mantra that repeats throughout goes, “We find love, We get up. Then we fall down. We give up.”

    For any fans of good ol’ R&B or soul or gospel, then this song is for you. A new age classic that touches a sad reality of finding love in relationships.

Death Wish – Terror Jr

This semi-party track is composed by a pop-electro group whose debut albums are fittingly titled “Bop City” and “Bop City 2: TerroRising”. Most of their music sounds like a robot consumed an angel and made art in the midst.

     Death Wish  shines out amongst the rest of “Bop City” due to the catchiness of its groove. Usually when DJ’s layer obscure, off beats over each other from different tastes, it goes one of two ways. In Terror Jr’s favor, it went insanely well.

Their lead singer’s sensual whisper of a melody contrasts nicely with the shocking lyrics and definitive message, “You can be my Juliet, but baby I can be your death wish.”

Like a Woman – Kacy Hill

When I first heard this song, I forced myself to give it a second chance, and I am glad I did. Upon first glance of the title, I was expecting an empowering feminist song to bless my ears, and instead I was pleasantly surprised at the complete opposite angle Hill took.

Hill started off as a background dancer on the Yeezus tour with Kanye West. Through a mutual friend, her music got into the hands of Kanye West himself, who became her close musical mentor. She then became one of two females to sign with the predominantly male hip hop label in 2016.

     Like a Woman is a soft, alt-pop song about femininity that is gained after certain sexual entities cause Hill to “feel like a woman”. It’s edgy.

Once Hill added snaps, a piano, and only a touch of synth, I was hooked. Its a pure track with powerhouse vocals. The simplicity of it is what makes it great.

Main Image Credit:Terror Jr

Dream Car: ’80s Magic

in music

No Doubt, the band that backed Gwen Stefani for many years has teamed up with the lead singer from AFI to form the supergroup: Dream Car. At first, some might think this music will just sound like No Doubt with Davey Havok on vocals. Nope. Not at all. It’s not even a combo of the pop rock fun of No Doubt and the dark punk sound of AFI. Dream Car has created a sound that is an incredible 80’s throwback. On May 12 th , they released their self-titled album, and it is retro to the max. It is very reminiscent of the synth-pop/new wave styles of New Order, The Cure and even a little bit of Flock of Seagulls.

That being said, sometimes the songs can take a very cheesy turn. However, if you love 80’s music…cheese and all, this is the album for you. Their first single, “Kill for Candy” was released in March. This song is catchy and fun. It has the 80’s “new romantic” feel to it, but it’s also fresh and new. Dream Car has done a great job of mixing old and new to create a clean, distinctive sound.

In the music video, Davey Havok is almost unrecognizable. With a pencil thin mustache and a wild-printed suit, he could be straight out of a Depeche Mode video. Even the album artwork is nostalgic of the 80’s. Featuring a portrait of a new wave woman with wild hair and a pink visor over her eyes, it looks like the vinyl artwork for an obscure synth-pop band. Dream Car’s self-titled album released by Columbia Music is available to buy on iTunes, and the band is currently on tour.

Image Credit: dreamcarmusic

Pearl Earl: Meet the Cosmic Queens of Rock

in music

Pearl Earl is a fresh, new band to have on all your pool party mixes this summer. From Denton Texas, these insanely talented ladies are masters at combining powerful, musical flair with fun. Pearl Earl’s sound is energetic and kaleidoscopic. It is reminiscent of the trippy 60’s mixed with a little bit of the spirit of the 90’s.

“The aesthetic of Pearl Earl is inspired by cosmic coincidences and the sound is inspired by the psychedelia of the 60’s, the glam and glitter of the 70’s, and the weirdness of the 80’s; while all growing up and being influenced by the 90’s.” says front woman, Ariel Hartley. Hartley slays the guitar and has a vibrant voice that draws the audience in. On drums is Bailey Chapman…one of the most fun drummers to watch. She plays with such passion as her hair flies wildly around her incredible beats. Stefanie Lazcano shreds the bass like a funk rock pro and Chelsey Danielle’s keys tie the whole band together. With songs like “Cosmic Queen” and “Karaoke Superstar,” Pearl Earl shows us how they can take music seriously while also having tons of fun.

Image credit: survivingthegoldenage
 

Get ready for their new album coming this summer! The gals told us “Our next big project is the full length album that we are about to release on vinyl in July. The album has 10 tracks and is self-titled. We recorded at Elmwood Recording Studio with Alex Bhore and Brack Cantrell and the album is being released by Dreamy Life Records.”

It is sure to be a summer treat for your ears. Can’t wait!

Main Image Credit: bandcamp

The Enchanting Music of Westworld

in television

It is almost unnecessary to go into how amazing Westworld is, right? Pretty much every person is watching this show right now. Created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, Westworld is a drama series on HBO that depicts a theme park for adults that is set in the wild west and made up of insanely real-looking robots.

Westworld is all about weaving unlikely elements together seamlessly. Robots and cowboys, the Wild West and the future, high technology and old-fashioned history.

The music reflects these juxtaposing components beautifully. The show’s composer, Ramin Djawadi, masterfully creates original compositions, as well as arranges classical takes on modern hit songs. Djawadi also composed the show’s opening credits theme song. Oftentimes, Djawadi also uses the Vitamin String Orchestra’s versions of famous songs such as “No Surprises” by Radiohead and “Something I Can Never Have” by Nine Inch Nails.

The Westworld theme park has a brothel that guests can visit, which has a player piano constantly playing. Sometimes it plays ragtime songs as it should, but sometimes it also plays songs from today.

When modern songs are played on this piano, it is typically very symbolic. In one of the first episodes, a major bar brawl was about to go down and “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden was eerily heard on the player piano. It definitely set a tone for destruction.

In a way, just the sheer image of a player piano in this type of robot-world in itself is symbolic, and perhaps even foreshadowing. The piano itself is essentially a robot in its own way…no longer needing any help from humans. It can play anything it wants on its own… songs from 100 years ago, songs from 20 years ago, and even songs that were just released.

Each song in the show is almost like a poem — exposing exactly what is happening in the storyline. The music is very strategically chosen, which only adds to the hauntingly beautiful plot.

A wonderful example of this is when Maeve, Westworld’s brothel owner (played by Thandie Newton), starts to learn that she is not a human. She befriends a human who is a robot tech behind the scenes of Westworld, and he walks her around the lab and shows her how the robots are created/maintained. It is a highly emotional scene as Maeve tries to grasp her own reality. The song playing in the background is Radiohead’s “Motion Picture Soundtrack,” performed by the Vitamin String Quartet.

Although the lyrics of the actual song are not sang, anyone who is familiar with this song can see how incredibly powerful it is in this scene. Some of the lyrics include: “help me get where I belong…” and “I think you’re crazy. Maybe…” and possibly the most evocative lyric, “I will see you in the next life…”

Being familiar with the music of Westworld is in no way a requirement for watchers. However, for those who do take the time to pay attention to the music and research lyrics and artists that are being used, they will feel a greater connection to the plot.

In a way, Ramin Djawadi rewards the music lovers who are familiar with the songs because he strategically chooses each song to uncover major characters and plot points. Thank you, Ramin Djawadi for making music a primary character in this amazing series.

Season one of Westworld is currently available to stream on HBO GO.

A Love Song for Masters Of None

in television

Master of None is a delightfully entertaining web series that is currently on Netflix. Created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, the show is a clever mix of humor and drama. Aziz’s trademarks are sprinkled throughout the series with his hilarious observations and social commentaries. The show follows his character, Dev, as he goes through the motions of life and tries to figure out what he wants from work, love and the world.

One of the elements that pleasantly surprised most viewers is the music in the show. Zach Cowie, the show’s music supervisor has done a beautiful job of carefully selecting songs that truly capture the thoughtful and humorous tone of the show. It’s almost like each episode has its own playlist. In fact, the music in the show is so memorable, many listeners made “Master of None” playlists on Spotify.

First of all, Master of None has lots of French music from the ’70s and ’80s. There is just something about retro French music that always adds something whimsical yet meaningful to film and television — especially when there is a sub-plot about relationships or romance.

“Thibault Et L’arbre D’or” is one song in particular that stands out. From Emmanuelle Parrenin’s 1977 album “Maison Rose”, this song just simply pulls at the heart strings. It also sets the mood for the series. It’s quirky, subtle, charming and — like the show itself — very smart.

There are also some especially fun elements in Master of None that are mirrored by the music. Lots of post-punk music such as the song “Cool” by the ’80s band, Pylon. It’s this type of music in the show that adds some spirit to party scenes or silly sex scenes. Cowie chooses music that makes the audience go “Who is this?” He actually chooses a lot of music that are singles from old 45 records. Some songs can’t even be found on iTunes!

Listening to the music in this show is like hanging out in a really cool, eclectic record store — not the record section at Urban Outfitters (no offense, UO). But like a legitimate record shop, filled with treasures and obscure, hard to find gems; owned by someone who loves it all and plays records based on the mood of the day…not what is topping the charts.

The music in Master of None ranges from more well-known music acts such as Lou Reed and Beach House, to B-sides like “Cheating” by Animals, and all the way to Indian disco tunes.

Somehow, this show has an overall late ’70s vibe, from the music to the cover design to the font in the credits. In a way, this retro atmosphere appeals to many of the 30-something people watching this show. Maybe this wasn’t exactly Ansari and Yang’s intention, but it definitely speaks to a small group that falls between known generations. Not quite Gen Xers, but also not quite millennials; a group that was born in the late ’70s early ’80s who don’t quite know where they fit into the world.

Master of None is a wonderful little niche that celebrates this generation through its relatable storyline and very sympathetic, nostalgic music choices.

Season two of Master of None is expected to be released in 2017. You can (and should!) stream season one on Netflix.

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