Muse Verb


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Declan McKenna isn’t like most songwriters whether young or old. Instead of penning typical pop tales of underage drinking and having his heart broken over a summer romance, or like our dear friend Usher with Confessions Part 22, the 17-year-old from Hertfordshire, England prefers tackling the forbidden subjects, that even the most veteran songwriters won’t touch. Last year he released his debut single ‘Brazil’, a massive indie-pop rock crossover tune that  covers the political landscape of Brazil and its corruption and manipulation of its populace at the heart of the country’s football World Cup in 2014. Now, with appearances on US chat shows like Conan O’Brian and a record deal signed and sold, it seems like he’s about to take his talents farther than South Beach.

After recording songs in his bedroom,  it is reported that McKenna debut album will be produced by James Ford (of Simian fame, producing for the Arctic Monkeys, Mumford and Sons, Haim, Florence + The Machine). McKenna won the Glastonbury festival’s Emerging Talent Competition in early 2015, which not only put him on the world stage with exposure but helped him grow more as a songwriter. McKenna with a fresh voice and original, deep and meaningful lyrics is on a solid journey to becoming one of the UK’s newest superstars.


Follow Declan McKenna and listen to his other hits!:


Smallpools – LoveTap!

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When I first saw Smallpools live in concert, the year was 2013 and they were opening for the then-unknown band called Twenty One Pilots. While I was mostly there for the main act, I found myself truly enjoying the fun, upbeat tunes of Smallpools, and later took the time to really listen to their music. Two years later, this once unknown opener has released their first full-length debut album, and listening to it really brought me back to the first time I heard this band live.

While pop music has a reputation for being shallow and meaningless, Smallpools ditches these misconceptions with their brand of highly innovative indie pop which is sure to catch the ear of anyone who’s heard it. However, early fans who caught their first single “Dreaming” in 2013 will notice that it remains one of the best songs on the album. Although Smallpools does an excellent job at taking the concept of generic pop music and making it unique, some of the songs released on “Lovetap!” simply fall short.

As mentioned, I first saw Smallpools in November of 2013; they were the opener, and after purchasing their single “Dreaming” online, I was excited to hear more. While Smallpools began strong with a catchy lead single, the song is far from new. In fact, “Dreaming” was released as the lead single from “Lovetap!” in May of 2013, and “Lovetap!” itself was not released until March of 2015 – nearly a two year gap. During this gap, Smallpools took time to tour and create the rest of the album in the studio, but it clearly put a dent in the momentum they had going from their catchy single and tour with Twenty One Pilots.

Interestingly enough, the vibe of “Lovetap!” is highly indicative of a live Smallpools show. Each song in and of itself sounds great, but listened in conjunction with other songs from the band simply makes each one forgettable. On their own they are catchy, innovative pop tunes, while with each other, they have little to help them stand apart. This is the ultimate downfall of an otherwise highly-enjoyable album. When an album is going through production, artists and producers typically understand the importance of variation on an album, whatever the genre may be. Some songs should be upbeat, some should be slow, and others can be driven or angry. This is up to the band themselves to decide, however Smallpools seems to have missed the memo on this basic production concept.

While it’s true that Smallpools does an excellent job of creating a unique brand of innovative and fun pop music, it’s also true that they seem to know how to create little else. The lack of moving or thoughtful music on “Lovetap!” really shows the limits of Smallpools as a band, and makes it clear they strive at making one type of music, and one type of music only – indie pop. The music featured on “Lovetap!” can be equated to music by another indie pop band known as the Mowgli’s: highly enjoyable, yet repetitive throughout the course of the album.

Although “Lovetap!” comes across as the Smallpools EP with some added bonus songs, there are specific songs on the album which really shine through on their own. Lead single “Dreaming” is by far one of the catchiest pop songs of the decade, and will be stuck in any listener’s ear for some time after it’s first been heard. It’s the perfect song to fill the role of “lead single,” and can be enjoyed by those with vastly different music tastes. In addition, the song “Dyin’ to Live” is just as infectious as “Dreaming,” and really shows the highlights of what Smallpools has to offer.

While “Lovetap!” is home to many excellent and catchy tunes, the main issue with the release is its lack of new material. Prior to the release of the “Lovetap!” full-length album, a shorter album known as the “Smallpools EP” was available to the public. This EP featured many of the singles from “Lovetap!” and seems to have all of Smallpools’ best songs brought together. It’s true that “Lovetap!” featured several never-before-heard songs from Smallpools, but most of these additions are passable at best, and are hardly worth a listen. Many of these additional tunes are clearly designed as filler so that the band could more easily release a full-length album without coming up with creative new content, and this really shows in the quality of the songs.

Prior to the release of “Lovetap!” Smallpools fans everywhere were excited to hear new content from the up-and-coming indie pop band. While fans got what they wanted once the album was finally released, it fell short of what many were expecting. With the release of “Lovetap!” Smallpools had a chance to truly cement themselves in the indie pop scene as innovators, however the lack of new, engaging content on the album may have cut their future opportunities short. While the tunes featured on “Lovetap!” are highly infectious and catchy, they have little to separate them from the same type of catchy music heard on the radio, which in the end really held back the potential of this album. This being said, do not underestimate just how great the singles from the album really are – when we say they’re catchy, that’s no lie. Songs like “Dreaming” and “Karaoke” will without a doubt get stuck in the head’s of anyone who’s heard them, and honestly deserve more recognition than they’ve received so far. That in mind, they are backed up by a less than impressive full-length album, really cutting back on the potential success of these tracks, as well as the success of the band as a whole.


Follow Smallpools:
Facebook: Smallpools Official
Twitter: @Smallpools
Instagram: @Smallpools
Soundcloud: @Smallpools
Website:  Official Website

Coldplay – Head Full of Dreams

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I can’t believe what I’m about to say, but this is definitely Coldplay’s worst album. Yeah, you read that right, read it again just incase. I did not think I would be able to put those two words together in a sentence ever, but it has happened. I understand Christian said this was Coldplay’s last album and they wanted to leave the fans with one last Charleston Dancing hurrah.

Don’t get me wrong its not a bad album, just not the best one we were all expecting. It feels commercial and heavy with a nervous energy and if not at first after a couple of listens a little bit rushed. I support all artists to experiment and expand their sound especially if you start at one stage you need to grow and mature with your audience as they grow older and mature as well. The only way you do that is by playing outside of your comfort zone, possibly by taking in new influences, combining with a new genre, collaborating with different artists and flirting with different producers (all of which Coldplay did 5 out of 5). But at the end you don’t want to lose your signature sound that makes you unique and individualistic.

A Head Full of Dreams comes as the British quartet’s Seventh full length effort and brings a lot of new direction to compliment its accomplished catalogue of  success and experimentation. After 15 years, a stellar 80 million records sold and worldwide touring across  six continents, Coldplay’s mantra and life philosophy is fervently ever-present in A Head Full of Dreams. What is that mantra you may ask?

The first track of the album (which happens to be the title track) opens with energy, funk and love. Christian Martin screams

I sing, oh, I think I’ve landed
Where there are miracles at work
Now you’ve got me open handed
Now you got me lost for words

A Head Full of Dreams is really one of the easy favorites for most, with its positive uplifting message that life is beautiful “You can see the change you want to, Be what you want to be.” Coldplay’s Mantra is just that a reminder to live life and love it as much as possible.


The second track Birds starts off with a Indie-Pop-Rock rhythm and beat, very soft and easy on the instruments and vocals. For fans of the French rockers Phoenix they will immediately see similarities in style on this track. Don’t be surprise to see Coldplay play halftime at this year’s Superbowl, remember you heard it hear first! As the song progresses Coldplay meticulously adds instruments little by little and synth overlays after each chorus, building it up to an all out orchestral pop rock celebration anthem complete with string ensemble, ending the song with a silent shout “Cool.”

Hymn For The Weekend

The third track titled Hymn For The Weekend my personally least favorite of the whole album, nothing against the Queen Bee Beyonce but she seems a little out of place in the song (not to mention Martin). If at all this sounds eerily like a Coldplay Cover with an added Pt II to Beyonce’s Drunk In Love. But Fortunately the backstory is a little bit more interesting than that Guy Berryman said in an interview that the song was Martin’s idea that wasn’t such a great one.

Apparently Martin wanted make a Coldplay remix of Lil’ Jons/DJ Snake Turn Down for What,  with a line supposedly going along the lines of “drinks on me, drinks on me.” fortunately for us the band made him come to his senses that he couldn’t get away with that, yeah we’d all have killed him for it. Hence they brought in Beyonce to ease the transition from Pop to RNB and to help soften the song’s reworked lyrics with Martin’s innocent sounding voice “So drink from me, drink from me.” Nice save Martin, but we’re on to you. Although Hymn For The Weekend is the least sounding Coldplay song ever, it is a lot better produced and executed than most of the commercial radio RNB songs released this year but that’s thanks to the super producing duo Stargate.


Our first ballad of the album and also the first Coldplay-like song Everglow does not disappoint, with heartfelt lyrics and an equally brooding Martin singing it. One of the best songs of the album for the traditional Coldplay fans. You can hear Gwyneth Paltrow accompanying Martin on background vocals. When I first heard this song all I could think was in the background Tom Petty’s Free Fallin would fit in perfectly!

Adventure Of A Lifetime

The first single released from A Full Head of Dreams, definitely delivered on all fronts I usually am not a Singles fan but when I heard this song I was blown away. Here Coldplay had been able to bring back a little bit of the sounds explored in Mylo Xyloto, as well as a guaranteed easy sing-along, shuffle of the feet and energy Martin had promised us on this album. Although totally ecstatic to hear the rest of the album, I couldn’t help but feel that underneath the beautiful lyrics and upbeat rhythm there was a slight farewell tone to the song.

But despite it all definitely one of my favorite songs off the album, with all the trademarks of a Coldplay song written within. Martin starts off the song with:

Turn your magic on
Umi she’d say
Everything you want’s a dream away
We are legends, every day
That’s what she told me

The song continues with a funky guitar riff and bass lines not previously heard from Coldplay’s catalogue a definite welcome as a fresh new sound this year. Definitely the guitars feel almost like electrical sitars with an 80s Pop Disco progression. Very energetic and uplifting as always delivered with a strong range of Martin’s Chest and falsettos vocal range. My favorite lines from the song have to be “under this pressure under this weight,
we are diamonds taking shape.” To me what this means although in life you have to have your moments of fun and relaxation, there comes a time where you evolve and grow. You go from that diamond in the rough to a full blown 2,000 carat diamond, meaning that out of the hell and pressures that life may throw at you something beautiful is made. You.

If you were curious to know how they made the music video

Army of One

My personal favorite off the album, incorporating a strong synth and electronic based orchestra, its definitely a Coldplay classic with an experimentation twist of synths that you may be familiar with from Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. This track also comes with a secret track which is what makes this Army of One perfect! If you want to hear a one hour endless loop of it you can go to our Soundcloud and listen to it!

Amazing Day

For the fans of the Coldplay that brought them Parachutes, they will feel right at home with Amazing Day. As a reminder to fans that they’re still here to making songs for the road home. To me it feels like a post-divorce song with a hint of reference towards U2’s Beautiful Day  doesn’t it? The strongest lyrics of this track are at the near end:

Can the Birds in poetry chime?
can there be breaks in the chaos sometimes?
oh thanks God, must have heard when I prayed
cause now I always want to feel this way

All in all although not the closing effort of a last album hurrah we expected, A Head Full of Dreams  will not leave any Coldplay fan disappointed. In my recommendation the essential tracks or “meat and bones” of the album are: Adventure of a Lifetime, Birds, Army of One, Everglow and Amazing Day.