Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Music Review | Perpetual Phases and Maxine Ashley

Still fighting through a Beyoncé binge, but I thought it'd be cool to formally review (or rather, voice random semi-structured opinions about) some music I like.  Several periods of my life are associated with a certain phase of listening to a particular artist or album.  Associated and not defined because many times the lyrics do not mirror the goings-on in my life at all; the music was just a brief constant.  Constant joy, in a perpetual phase.  Hmmm...maybe I should revisit some of those phases.

Photo Credit
Right before I traveled in December I had nine songs on repeat from this cool artist Maxine Ashley.  I think I Googled something involving the phrase "R&B artists" and got to a site listing nice mixtapes and EPs from up and coming peoples.  Ten seconds into the first song and I needed to download MOODSWINGs EP.  Her voice, the production, the lyrics... I don't know, I just really enjoyed everything.  Actually, it was probably the vibe I felt from it before anything else.  Just cool-sounding.  And you should want to listen to cool-sounding music.  Listen on her soundcloud, get it on her website (or her soundcloud too)!

Número Uno: Between You & I 
There's a relationship brewing and these two need to figure out what they want and say what it is.  The music is very chill and there are muted layers in the chorus.  And I would never let you know cause I don't even think I know how I'm supposed to feel or if it's really real.

#2: By Your Side
Oooh, being in love and having a strong desire to be with the one you love.  I like the spirited melody in the middle breakdown/bridge (goodness, I wish I knew what makes the sounds). And there's a piece of me that never wants to leave your side. 

Three is Magic: Mary (Prelude)
So I know absolutely nothing about the psychedelic experience or that time period in pop culture but the music in this prelude made me think of that feeling.  Even the album art reflects that feel.  She is your paradise and she has you high. Trapped under her spell.  I guess Mary is that psychedelic drug...

Numbah Fo': Perpetual Nights
Beat, beat, beat, beat.  Nice and steady groove to this.  And there's some joyous horn section going on during the chorus.  I'd like to think I can without a doubt identify all instruments playing a part (wasn't I supposed to be a band nerd or something?)...the horns sound like trumpets there, skilled and smooth-sounding trumpeters instead of overbearing, annoying trumpeters.  But it is professional work, so the former should be expected, right?  Perpetual hiiiiiigh, perpetual niiiiiights. Star gazin'.

FIVE: In My Songs (Interlude)
Maxine Ashley doesn't sing on this, it's gospel great Mahalia Jackson on the first stanza of her "I'm Going To Live the Life I Sing About In My Song" (I definitely had to Google that).  I like the tone it sets and I suppose it's the beginning of a message that resonates with Maxine Ashley.  (Because the Internet) I found this short introduction on Interview Magazine's website where she says that music is "her life.  It's what I want, and I'm gonna get it."  So she better live the life she sings about and sing the life she lives.

Pick Up Six: Glory Box
Slow, sexy, makes you close your eyes and get lost in it.  The occasional harmonies sound beautiful and the rest of the time Maxine Ashley's voice alone is so slick.  Give me a reason to love you, give me a reason to be...a woman.

Lucky Seven: Reciprocity
All I can say is "Give this girl what she deserves!"  Um...or I like this one a lot probably because of the echoing "oh's," the funky-ish guitar (it's a guitar right?) and the lyrics.  So, basically everything about it.  I've been waiting, anticipating.  Something's got to give.

Oh, Eight: A Minute of Moments
This one is probably my favorite.  The beginning sounds kind of warped, a controlled warp with the guitar and glob sounds (yeah, that's the best description I can give).  The way she pronounces the word "baby" and that guitar solo conclusion though...  Sometimes a girl needs to be on her own.  So I'm doing this alone.

Nein 9!: Here We Are (Bonus)
♩ La da di, la da da    You have to bob to this, groove to this, just move to this.  It's definitely dance music but not in that repetitive is-this-the-same-song kind of way.  So let's blast off to Mars, didn't think we'd get this far.  Get a good look 'cause here we are.

B for effort .  I'm definitely not a music journalist.  If it sounds good and makes you feel good...why always try to describe or dissect it?  Oo-oh, maybe because dissecting helps to understand the production process, which can be impressive.  People who create rhythms, melodies, and harmonies, layers that fit perfectly, subtle details you hear on the tenth listen-- they have an amazing talent.  Well, this was fun.

Happy Tuesday!

1 comment:

  1. I think your Beyonce binge is totally okay! Ha! I think everyone is in Beyonce mania! I've actually heard of Maxine Ashley. She is definitely a dope artist. I was hoping to write a few records for her last year but I couldn't get on the same schedule as her team. Great review!

    xo, N