Tuesday, September 30, 2014  
The Charger Bulletin

Black Keys at the Barclays

by Kaitlin Mahar | September 25, 2014

On Wed, Sept. 24, Assistant Editor Elissa Sanci and I went to see the Indie Rock duo The Black Keys of Akron, Ohio with opening Alternative Rock band Cage the Elephant of Bowling Green, Ky. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Ny.

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Ny (Photo by Elissa Sanci/Charger Bulletin)

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Ny (Photo by Elissa Sanci/Charger Bulletin)

As a longtime fan of both acts performing on The Black Keys’ Turn Blue tour, I had high hopes for the show, and was far from disappointed. On first came Cage the Elephant, who kept the audience pumped up throughout their set, which included older hits, such as “Back Against the Wall” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” both from the band’s self-titled album of 2008, as well as hit single “Come a Little Closer,” off their most recent album, Melophobia. The high-energy antics of frontman Matt Shultz, which included spastic dance moves, crowd surfing, and stage diving, didn’t hurt either.

Given the relatively somber tone of The Black Keys’ latest album, Turn Blue, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show other than knowing the band’s reputation for being fantastic live. Fueled by a brutal divorce between Dan Auerbach and now ex-wife Stephanie Gonis, Turn Blue serves as a musical time stamp to commemorate the grueling and emotionally draining year Auerbach endured.

However, the band kept their set upbeat with popular hits like “Tighten Up,” off the 2010 album Brothers, “Lonely Boy” and “Gold on the Ceiling,” from their 2011 album El Camino, along with newer tracks off their 2014 album, Turn Blue, which includes their latest single “Fever.” After an 18-song set, the Black Keys returned to the stage for a three-song encore, during which they sang  “Turn Blue,” “Weight of Love,” both of which are from their latest album, and “Little Black Submarines” from El Camino.

My favorite song of the set, however, was definitely The Black Keys’ cover of Edwyn Collins’ 1995 single “Girl Like You.” Auerbach’s vocals and guitar riffs during the song added a haunting, James Bond-esque vibe to the already soulful hit, while Pat Carney’s intensely skillful drumming gave the song a modern rock and roll twist.

Overall, the energy and passion of both The Black Keys and Cage the Elephant filled the stadium, from the pit to the nosebleeds, and there was not a moment the crowd wasn’t on it’s feet. If I had to make one complaint, I’d have to say that I wish the show had lasted longer.

The Train is Not Stopping

by Glenn Rohrbacker | September 24, 2014

We all know Train. “Drops of Jupiter:” a classic. “Hey, Soul Sister:” either made or ruined your summer in 2010.

Train released their seventh studio album was released on Sept. 16 (AP photo)

Train released their seventh studio album was released on Sept. 16 (AP photo)

Many other songs have reached our hearts and ruined our voices. One can’t help but wonder what we could have had those years that Train took their hiatus. But obviously they took that time to regroup, and because of that, they came out stronger.

Train released their seventh studio album this week titled Bulletproof Picasso. It’s their third album release since their return to the stage in 2010.

I have to say, I was so excited for this release when the first single, “Angel in Blue Jeans,” was released. It seems like every modern soft rock artist is trying a western track (or in John Mayer’s case, an album or two). This may seem like a stretch for Train, especially for a voice like Pat Monahan’s, but they absolutely killed it. The rest of the album is also incredible. Song after song, you just want to jam out.

The first single released off of the album was “Angel in Blue Jeans.” This western influenced song also features Danny Trejo in the epic music video that makes you want the song to go on even longer. “Cadillac, Cadillac” was the second single released and slightly resembles the old rhyme “Patty-cake” if you really listen to it. But it is definitely different in the sense that it has a grunge rock feel to it; a different sound for Train, but definitely fitting.

The title track, “Bulletproof Picasso,” is a very typical Train sound, but nonetheless awesome. It has an uplifting nature and inspiring message behind it. The ballad “Don’t Grow Up Too Fast” shows off Pat Monahan’s soft side and vocal control. It has the potential to reach the heart of anyone, but more especially to the parents out there (also it would be a good song for a father-daughter dance at a wedding or Sweet 16).

“The Bridge” is a song you just want to dance to. It has a fast and catchy beat and sing-a-long worthy lyrics. “Wonder What Your Doing for the Rest of Your Life” is another definitely danceable song that features vocals by Marsha Ambrosius. “Give it All” is an uplifting power ballad that is about wanting just one more night with a special someone, but knowing that they have to go. Pat really puts his soul and emotion behind that song to make you really feel it too.

Basically, what I’m saying is Train really knocked it out of the park with this album. I just downloaded it and I already can’t wait for the next one. I would definitely recommend this album to current Train fans, previous Train fans or people who only know the two songs I previously mentioned. I can’t wait to see what Train releases next.

Bulletproof Picasso definitely shows that Train is definitely not stopping.

Catalina Gonzalez will be running through your mind in no time

by Ashley Winward | September 24, 2014

Being a member of the University of New Haven community has led me to meet so many talented people in so many different fields.

Catalina Gonzalez (Photo by Kara Zavaglio)

Catalina Gonzalez (Photo by Kara Zavaglio)

Catalina Gonzalez has been no exception.

Hailing from Santiago, Chile, the senior here at UNH has made a name for herself in the local music community and is looking to expand out with new music opportunities. Over the past few years she’s put out two EPs, Old Soul, New Voice and Game Of Words, with plenty of fun covers along the way including her “Song Sunday” installments you can check out on YouTube. She released her newest EP last semester, Roadrunner, and I think it truly shows her versatility as a songstress and her power as a vocalist!

The EP opens with the title track “Roadrunner” that is reminiscent of an old bluesy rock track. The chugging guitar line evokes a ZZ Top vibe while Gonzalez croons about chasing after a “roadrunner” love. The next track, “To Forget You,” goes in a completely new direction, taking me to a distant island with the reggae harmonies and again that very distinctive guitar setting the tone for the song. For me, the best was certainly saved for last with the very slinky and sultry “My Man.” The mysterious verses opened up to a powerful wailing chorus that absolutely blew me away with an organ part that felt like I was being taken to church.

There is no low point to this EP, no filler track to take up space and nothing missing from my musical palate. I can really appreciate artists who put out short EPs like Roadrunner because it’s a sampling of short songs that all show such strength. I would much rather a short brilliantly crafted EP over a full length that has sub-par filler tracks.

All in all, Catalina Gonzalez hit this one out of the park. You can pick it up for yourself at catalinagonzalez.bandcamp.com as well as her other EPs and cover singles. You can also find her on Facebook or on her website at Catalinagonzalezmusic.com. Her next show in the area will be at Two Roads Brewery in Stratford, so be sure to go support!

It’s been awesome for me personally to watch Gonzalez go from performing at the freshman talent show singing Adele to now putting out great original music. Hopefully it won’t be long before I can say that the girl on TV winning a Grammy went to my alma mater!

Jill Jensen: Stages

by Elyse Von Der Fecht | September 24, 2014

Jill Jensen is a guitarist, pianist, saxophonist, violinist and bassist. She also plays the ukulele and drums. Jensen is a 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Massachusetts. She has been singing since the age of two and writing and composing her own music since the age of eight.

Jill Jensen (Photo obtained via Facebook)

Jill Jensen (Photo obtained via Facebook)

Since then, she released two albums, including her original songs. She has written and composed well over 100 different songs, which is incredible. She appeared on the X-Factor Season two in 2012, as well as American Idol XIII in 2014.

On July 8, she released her first single “In Your Arms,” and it’s a bonus track off her album Stages, which was released on September 15. This is what I thought of her heart-felt songs.

I’m Movin’ On”: As I listened to this song, I enjoyed her vocals as she sang her heart out and you could feel her passion and intensity.

Breakin’ You”: In this song having backup vocals for the harmonies was a great jester to the song. As well as the little giggle in between her lyrics, I thought it was a nice touch.

I Deserve Better”: Jill’s voice in this song is steady throughout the whole song and she can hit those notes perfectly. I can feel her pain as she sings this song and she knows how to really connect with her fans through her songs. It’s very touching to hear.

Who I Wanna Be”: To me this might be my favorite off her album, because it’s different from the other songs on the album. When I listened to it something about her lyrics hooked me and I couldn’t help but put the song on repeat.

Lullaby”: Her lyrics for the song accompanied by the rhythm and melody, which flows together perfectly and gives the song that extra push.

He’s No You”: Listening to this song, made me think how many people can relate to her message as saying that the person you look at is nothing compared to your significant other.

Morning Thoughts”: I believe when you listen to this song it gives you a different perspective on the way others may think. It makes you wonder if you do the same as you wake up in the morning.

Let Love Start”: This song took my mind deep into the song listening to the lyrics of what she was singing, and the message was remembering.

Sit Back, Watch & Criticize”: In this song, you can really hear her raspy voice which made the song stand out with her unique style. Having that tone as she sings makes her different because not everyone sounds like that when they sing.

The Plan”: I think ending the album with this song was genius because it leaves the listeners with her passionate vocals. She also adds her own twist to the song and really holds out some of those notes.

Jill Jensen knows how to get the crowd ready for a show; don’t miss out on a chance to see her live.

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | September 24, 2014

1. Showing or characterized by quick and inventive verbal humor.
“a witty remark”

When he first started his musical career, Witty went through the dictionary and found a word that described his humor, his—for lack of a better word—wittiness.

Witt Lowry (Photo supplied by Lowry’s management)

Witt Lowry (Photo supplied by Lowry’s management)

With his progressive change in his music and the meaning behind it, Witty found it would only make sense to mature his artist alias as well. From Witty to Witt Lowry. Dropping the “y,” and creating a “last name” by using a variation of his middle name Lawerance, after his grandfather who is a strong inspiration in his life. The name change also makes his music more easily searchable.

I was fortunate enough to speak with Witt Lowry about his career and recent developments. This is an artist who is taking music back to basics. The type of artist who speaks the truth regardless of what the outcome may be.

“I decided to pursue music as a career after I graduated from college,” Lowry explained. “I spent some time after graduation doing free-lance graphic design for the WWE. It was everything I had wanted from the time I first went to school, but once I was in the nine to five grind, I realized it was far from my dream. Photoshopping John Cena and The Rock became monotonous, and I realized I wanted to be the guy people were photoshopping, not the one sitting behind the desk.”

“I was just really unhappy, and I started working on Kindest Regards [his first mixtape] before I graduated, but hadn’t had much time to dedicate to it because of ‘real life.’ I knew it was time to just stop everything and focus on my music. I was passionate about it, and knew if I focused on it I’d be able to make it grow.”

You would think that an artist who writes so personally would have trouble performing live, but Lowry actually says the opposite.

“I actually choose my most emotional songs when composing a set,” he said. “This past weekend I did my first string of shows, from NYC to Boston to Rhode Island, and I knew to grab people’s attention I had to talk about the stuff that mattered. I didn’t want to be a typical performer who just paces across the stage, where all you hear is clanging glasses and various conversations, I wanted to be the reason people couldn’t look away. I wanted to spill my soul on the stage.”

Spilling his soul is exactly what Lowry does on and off the stage. His music can become the anthem of anyone feeling heartbreak, loss, happiness, or love. It’s not necessarily what he says though, it’s how he says it.

“The writing process is pretty simplistic for me,” Lowry described. “The notes on my phone are filled with one-liners, and the hardest part is not being able to fit a certain line in where I want it to go. There’s an element of having to let go that is really hard when you envision something else, but you have to just realize that nothing is set in stone and the creative process is kind of never-ending.”
Lowry is so inspiring to his listeners, and he says he realized this when Kindest Regards first came out.

“People said that mixtape changed their lives and it was humbling,” he said. “Opening up is so easy for me to do because I’m the type of person who is always truthful and honest, not to mention it helps me vent everything… like a coping mechanism,” he explained.

“The toughest part of it all is wondering if the people I write about will hear it and get mad or upset, but then I have to remind myself that people always know where they stand with me. I wouldn’t put anything in a song that I wouldn’t say to them in person. I just highlight the truth of what they did, and let the listeners take what they feel from it.”

While Lowry so easily inspires everyone else, his strongest inspirations in his life make his career worthwhile.

“Anytime I feel like I’ve had enough or I’m too tired I just think of my Mom. My mom has sacrificed a lot for me in her life, and I feel like it’s the least I can do to give back to her. I want us to be at a point where she doesn’t have to work thanks to me. She just really helps me push through. My grandfather is the wisest man I’ve ever met, and is so important to me as well.”

As for his musical influences, they are a bit harder to predict by his sound than other artists of his caliber.

“Musically Eminem, Macklemore, and Hopsin are inspiring to me with the way they go about making music. It’s not necessarily their sound that I model my music after, but the way that they convey their messages.”

Lowry’s latest track, Lay Here, is a true example of his poetic abilities, passionate truths, and relatable words. Produced by Tido Vegas, the sample on this track was taken from James Bay’s “Let It Go” and is cohesive to the story that Lowry tells as each verse unfolds.

Dream Your Life Away

by Glenn Rohrbacker | September 17, 2014

Do you like Mumford & Sons? The Lumineers? Any other pop-folk bands? If you answered yes to any of these, Vance Joy is the guy for you. He is another great prospective star you can add to this list.

Vance Joy (Photo obtained via Facebook)

Vance Joy (Photo obtained via Facebook)

Vance released his debut album on Sept 9 titled Dream Your Life Away. The Australian singer-songwriter previously released an EP in 2013. The album Dream Your Life Away produced four singles before its release. “Riptide” was the most commercially successful single.

You can expect a lot of great things from this album, as it passes the test for an artist’s debut. Dream Your Life Away is a record that stays true to the folk genre, and every song makes you feel like you enjoy folk, even if you say you don’t. Let’s not forget, this isn’t exactly a time in pop culture where the folk genre is prominent. So the fact that Vance Joy has already been successful with his singles shows how he is someone to watch.

Like I said previously, the album has four pre-released singles. “Riptide” is the most successful, and it’s probably the one that you would know; it’s also my personal favorite. “Who Am I” is another song that I really enjoy. Most of Vance’s songs, including these and the others I will mention, have an uplifting spirit to them that you just love to listen to.

He also is a songwriter with a keen lyrical sense. “From Afar” was the first single released. This song definitely shows the softer side of Vance’s songwriting style. “Red Eye” is a song near the end of the album that I could definitely see in a movie, specifically a romantic comedy. When you listen to it, you can just see it being part of a movie. That type of songwriting is hard to come by and Vance Joy definitely displays that ability.

Vance closes out his debut album with a ballad. It’s a risky choice because it’s the last thing people hear, but he definitely succeeded on this one. The song displays beautiful lyrics accompanied by just as wonderful melody.

I had never heard of Vance Joy before I heard his song “Riptide” on the radio, and you probably hadn’t either or probably still don’t know who he is. After listening to all of Dream Your Life Away, I have definitely become a fan.

While Mumford & Sons takes a short hiatus from performing, Vance Joy is now here to fill that void in the pop-folk genre. I have no doubt that he will do great things and produce more great music. While we wait for that, just sit back with your headphones, relax, and dream your life away.

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | September 17, 2014

Martina McBride: Bringing Old Soul to a New Country

On Thursday I received a wake-up call from none other than Martina McBride herself. Needless to say it was hard to sleep Wednesday night knowing that such an iconic artist was going to be calling me in the morning to discuss her latest album, but I couldn’t have asked for a better conversation with such an inspirational woman.

Martina McBride (Photo supplied by her publicist at Shore Fire Media)

Martina McBride (Photo supplied by her publicist at Shore Fire Media)

Hailing from Kansas, McBride and her husband, John McBride, are now Nashville residents. The couple owns Blackbird Studios, which the University of New Haven is partnering with in spring 2015 for our music department’s newly developed study away program. McBride will also be coming to our neighborhood on Oct 11 for a leg of her new tour, performing at Waterbury’s Palace Theater.

McBride’s latest album, Everlasting, was released on April 8, and captures the essence and emotion of classic soul, making the tracks contemporary enough to attract new fans while maintaining the die-hards.

“I recorded an album a few years ago, Timeless, that showcased my own renditions of classic country songs, and I loved the feedback we got from that album,” McBride responded when I inquired about the inspiration behind her latest album. “When I have a chance to kind of recreate those classics I find it really fun, and I had the tour for Everlasting in mind from the moment we started working on the album, so I was really excited from the beginning.”

“I’ve never done a show like this before,” she confessed after I stated how unique I imagined the Everlasting tour to be. “We have a four-piece horn section, three background vocalists, and men in matching suits, familiar to the times of the songs I cover. I wanted the tour to be visually entertaining as well as very musical.”

McBride said that the tour will still cover a lot of her classic hits and said she has fans that have attended the show in more than one city because of the tour’s dynamic. The more she spoke about Everlasting on the road, the more I got the impression that everything with McBride is about the whole team. Without her background vocalists, musicians, management and everyone who had a part in this independent album release, she suggests she would not have had the amazing success that stemmed from the album. Part of that success is her fifteenth nomination for “CMA Female Vocalist of the Year.”

“I was just genuinely surprised,” McBride said regarding her nomination. “We’ve had no radio single from this independent release, and even though we’ve been very visible this year, it was really an honor that the industry recognized all of our hard work on this album.” I asked her to describe that feeling. “It never gets old,” she laughed.

Everlasting is a combination of some of the most influential soul tracks—from Motown to Muscle Shoals and everything in between, including classic hits like Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.”

McBride manages to maintain Sam Cooke’s (“Bring It On Home to Me”) soulful elements while singing a duet with the talented Gavin Degraw. The album also features Kelly Clarkson on the classic “In the Basement,” originally recorded by Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto.

“The process of choosing and compiling songs that would fit together was definitely challenging,” McBride admitted. “I wanted everything to be cohesive, and then of course I had to choose songs that would fit my voice and feel authentic to what we were trying to create. It was definitely a treasure hunt.”

She’s right. This album is a compilation of jewels that were stored away for far too long and needed a good dusting before being shown to the world once again. This album will expose a new audience to these treasures and allow old fans to rekindle the moment they fell in love with the soulfulness of each song.

As if she wasn’t busy enough, McBride has recently earned her own show on Sirius XM’s Y2K Country. She described how this opportunity came about.

“When we released the album I was a guest DJ on the show, and they approached me shortly after to see if I would be interested in hosting a show of my own. It’s just another opportunity that makes me want to explore so many options—like possibly a show from the road or getting my background singers involved.”

McBride was getting ready to tape a show shortly after our phone call ended, so I asked her what the most challenging part of the taping process was. “Just the newness of it all and wanting each show to be perfect,” she replied. “I think that’s the biggest challenge for me. Finding stories to relate to each song that make the show interesting and fun.”

After speaking to McBride, I got the vibe that she is all about having fun and loving every minute of it. While it is evident by her immense success that hard work must be a huge priority, it is easy to see that she truly enjoys the time she invests in her albums, tours, radio shows, and life in general.

With her team attitude, passion for music, and optimistic mentality, Martina McBride has proven that she continues to break boundaries in the world of country music.

Who controls the music?

by Katelyn Clark | September 10, 2014

The other day, I walked into Grill 155 to eat dinner with my friend, only to hear rap music blasting through the speakers at a volume unheard of at an eatery. I immediately wanted to turn and run. Not only did I have to yell my order to the cashier, but I could barely hold a conversation with my friend sitting right across the table, or hear myself think.

Katelyn Clark bw

I have nothing against the type of music that was playing, but the fact that it was blasting at an unnecessary volume, making the music sound distorted and awful, was almost too much to bear while I was trying to eat dinner.

The question I have is who controls the music at the dining facilities on campus? Is it Sodexo? Student Activities? Facilities Department? Why aren’t we using the resources available on campus to play music the students want to hear while they are eating?

WNHU, the University of New Haven’s radio station, would be a great place to start.

WNHU has a student only online stream called Charger Radio, which is all students, all the time. This stream should be what is playing through the speakers at the dining facilities.

Charger Radio is what students want to hear. And if you don’t like what you hear, students have the ability to join the station, become a DJ on Charger Radio and then YOU play what you and your friends want to hear.

If you are in doubt about putting WNHU/Charger Radio in the dining facilities, just take a look—or rather, take a listen—at the Rec Center. Over the summer, WNHU started a stream customized for the Rec Center and that is what you now hear playing over the speakers while you work out. The Rec Center utilized a resource straight from UNH, right on campus, which helps both parties in countless ways. So, I believe the dining facilities should do the same.

Whether it be the radio station putting juke boxes in Bartels so students can choose what song they want to hear, Grill 155 and Pandini’s streaming Charger Radio through their speakers so students can listen to their peers DJ their own shows, or a customized WNHU stream playing in Sandella’s and the C-Store; the options are limitless!

WNHU is a great resource that should not be overlooked, especially when it comes to what is playing over the speakers at the many different dining facilities on campus.

Brad Paisley’s Moonshine in the Trunk

by Elyse Von Der Fecht | September 10, 2014

Brad Paisley is an American, guitar-playing country singer-songwriter who recently released his tenth studio album Moonshine in the Trunk on Aug. 26.

Brad Paisley (AP Photo)

Brad Paisley (AP Photo)

In 1999, he released his debut album Who Needs Pictures; since then, he’s recorded nine studio albums and a Christmas compilation with Arista Nashville.

As of 2013, he hit 32 Top Ten singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 18 of which have reached number one. He also holds the record of ten consecutive singles reaching the top spot on the chart.

Paisley has sold over 12 million copies of his albums and has won three Grammy Awards. Some of his other accomplishments include his 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards, and two American Music Awards. He has also earned country music’s crowning achievement, becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

As for his latest album, Moonshine in the Trunk, I would have to say that my favorite song is “Perfect Storm.”

Here’s a list of what I thought about the rest of the songs on the album:

“Crushin’ It”: I thought the beginning of the song with the “Hey” was a good idea to get everyone to want to listen to the song. The background vocals throughout the song made a nice touch to the song as well.

“River Bank”: This song would have to be my second favorite off the album. The overall vibe of the song makes you want to just drop what your doing and party with friends.

“Perfect Storm”: The beginning of the song starts off instrumental and goes into an echo followed by Paisley’s lyrics. The melody of the music gives a good vibe and really gives you the chills when you think about how he feels about that special girl.

“High Life”: I thought the duet with Carrie Underwood in this song gave a stronger feeling to the lyrics and melody of the meaning and how it was portrayed. At the end, it was neat to listen to a little conversation between Paisley and Underwood.

“Moonshine in the Trunk”: I enjoyed the beginning of the song as it had it had the noise of turning on a truck, which gave a neat vibe to the start.

“Shattered Glass”: This song was a bit slower in the tempo which makes you want to sway back and forth while listening to the lyrics.

“Limes”: The tempo of this song was more on the slower side than the others but still had a great, steady beat throughout the entire song.

“You Shouldn’t Have To”: I thought the guitar solo in the beginning was nice and caught my attention; it kept me listening to the song. I feel like a lot of people could relate to what the message of the song is about.

“4WP”: The lyrics to this song are truly about that country swing and talks about trunks as well as relating it to girls who grab your attention.

“Cover Girl”: This is every girls dream to be that girl you see on the cover of a magazine. She is the one for you and she caught your eye out of a crowd of others.

“Gone Green”: I liked the beginning of the song with all the instruments including the banjo because it brought a country and southern vibe to the song.

“JFK 1962”: I thought the instrumental at the start of the segment was neat. This was a 54 second speech given by John F. Kennedy.

“American Flag on the Moon”: This song has a great message and the first time I listened to it, I just wanted to listen to the lyrics and focus on nothing else. This song actually touched me and gave me chills listening to what he had to say.

“Country Nation”: I thought this was a great song to end his album with because it has a great message to leave his listeners with. The instruments as well as the melody of the song gave off a dancing feeling.

Be sure to not miss Paisley on tour now; I promise, you don’t want to miss out on one of his performances. He puts on a fantastic show for his fans.

Our Everything

by Glenn Rohrbacker | September 10, 2014

Ariana Grande went from being a teenage actress on both Broadway (13) and in children’s television (Victorious) to an up and coming Billboard topping musical artist.

Ariana Grande performing in East Rutherford, NJ June 29, 2014. (AP photo)

Ariana Grande performing in East Rutherford, NJ June 29, 2014. (AP photo

Since the end of the Nickelodeon show Victorious in 2013, she quickly broke out into the mainstream music scene with her debut, double platinum album, Yours Truly.

This week she released her second studio album, My Everything, which has been number one on the charts since its release on Monday.

This album had been highly anticipated by the public due to the release of two top ten singles before the album was even dropped.

The album features work by Big Sean, A$AP Ferg, The Weekend, Childish Gambino, Jessie J, Nicki Manaj and, most notably, Zedd and Iggy Azalea.

This all-star feature line up shows how the music business is responding to Grande’s special talent and character.

Grande’s sophomore album has her fans thinking she is a lot older than she really is.

The 21-year-old pop star has grown since her first album in ways that highlight her professionalism and talent. She knows what she can do and she rocks it in the process.

Not only can she reach the notes, but she reaches everyone’s heart at the same time.

Her smooth R&B style voice can tackle anything from hip-hop to pop and everything in between; she even gives us an a capella track to start off the album.

Not only does her record reflect the grown up pop diva that she has become and will continue to be, but her live performances deliver the same amount of power and emotion behind her vocals as on her album.

Grande doesn’t stay true to one genre, although she is classified as pop. She mixes dance and pop and hip hop and R&B and even some jazz technique in her unique sound to make it exactly that: unique.

The album features several tracks that were made to be hits, and were. “Problem,” “Break Free,” and “Bang Bang” were all chart toppers before the album was even released. Other strong tracks include the Mariah Carey influenced, “Be My Baby.”

“Break Your Heart Right Back” is a track that features Childish Gambino and samples the Diana Ross classic, “I’m Coming Out.”

The title track of the album, “My Everything” is one of those times where Grande uses her voice to cut to the core of even the toughest of people. This ballad truly shows off her skill, style, personality, and heart. It is true for the rest of the album as well, which includes two bonus tracks.

Grande is no teen actress anymore; instead, she is a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to see how she progresses in the long career she has ahead of her.

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