The King vs The Beast: Weekend Box Office Report (March 10-12)

The King vs The Beast: Weekend Box Office Report (March 10-12)

With another weekend at the cinema wrapped up, it’s time to examine and count down the top ten films at the box office for the weekend of March 10-12.

10. Fifty Shades Darkerfiftyshadesnew

Coming off another 54.2% drop and lowering one position this weekend, Universal’s Fifty Shades sequel brought in just over $1.6 million at the domestic box office, bringing its total gross up to $112,922,485 in its 5th week. The film has made back the $55 million it cost to make the film and has now been dropped from 707 theaters nationwide, dropping the total theater count to 1,498 and averaging $1,088 per screen. Directed by James Foley and adapted by Neill Leonard, the film stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.

9. La La Landlala-land

The best picture nominee has had a tremendous run at the box office. Lionsgate’s indie musical has been surprise hit, still gaining momentum and showing no signs of slowing down. In its 14th week, the film grossed $1.7 million, bringing its total gross up to $148,445,589. Despite a 40.7% viewing drop, the film has increased its theater count by 167 theaters and raised the total to 1,578 screens; the film averaged $1,122 per screen and has more than tripled its budget of $30 million. The film is written and directed by Oscar® winner Damien Chazelle and stars Oscar® nominee Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Notebook) and Oscar® winner Emma Stone (The Help, The Amazing Spider-Man)

8. John Wick: Chapter 2john-wick-2-guns

Lionsgate’s sequel to the low budget indie thriller exceeded expectations with its opening.  John Wick 2 dropped 3 positions in the top ten, grossing $2.7 million, bringing the total gross up to $87.4 million. The film’s budget is currently undisclosed. The film dropped 43.8% in its 5th week and was cut from 444 theaters, lowering the total to 2,031 screens, averaging $1,329 per screen. Directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad, the film stars Keanu Reeves (The Matrix trilogy) and Ian McShane (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides).

7. Hidden Figureshidden-figures-750x315_orig

Fox’s Oscar nominated film about the secret contributions African American women made to the space program stayed steady this weekend in seventh, grossing $2.8 million and raising the total gross to $162,865,186 and more than quadrupling its $25 million budget. The film dropped a significantly small 27.7% and was dropped from 161 theaters, averaging $1,946 per screen. Directed by Theodore Melfi and adapted by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, the film stars Oscar® nominee Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, and Janelle Monáe. 

6. Before I Fall8629851a9nii6xumsz0ij9s6p8wtx_oz14orvjvoq9xypnmh7lmk7l3p2rn9gjbl6thbibuiptwmehlzortjx2snjda

ORF’s independent teen film retained its spot in 6th, grossing $3.1 million, bringing the total gross up to $9 million in its 2nd week, only dropping 33.7%. The film’s production budget is currently undisclosed. The theater count didn’t change from 2,436 screens and averaging $1,325 per screen. Directed by Ry Russo-Young and adapted by Maria Maggenti, the film stars Zoey Deutch and Halston Sage.

5. The Lego Batman Movie10. The Lego Batman Movie

Dropping one position from last week, Warner Bros’ animated spinoff dropped 33.2% in its 5th week, grossing $7.8 million to add to its total gross of $159 million. The film was dropped from 353 screens, bringing the total down to 3,303 screens, averaging $2,386 per. The film’s budget has been revealed to be $80 million. Directed by Chris McKay and adapted Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, and John Wittington, the film stars an all star cast including Will Arnett (The Lego Movie), Michael Cera (Superbad), Rosario Dawson (RENT), and Ralph Fiennes (Quiz Show, Harry Potter franchise).

4. The Shackfb-share-img

Lionsgate’s Christian-based adaption scored big at the box office this weekend, dropping a position in its 2nd week, and bringing in $10 million to add to its total gross of $32.3 million. The film hasn’t been dropped from any of its 2,888 screenings, averaging $3,480 per screen, while maintaining a viewing drop of 37.9%. Directed by Stuart Hazeldine and adapted by John Fusco, Andrew Lanham, and Destin Cretton, the film about second chances stars Sam Worthington (Avatar), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), and Tim McGraw (The Blind Side).

3. Get Outmv5bndi0nju3mtc3nf5bml5banbnxkftztgwndc5mtmymdi-_v1_

Universal’s horror film about a couple’s terrifying family discovery raked in another $21 million, bringing the total to $111 million. The film fell in position from second during its 3rd week, taking a 25.4% drop. The film was added to 205 screens, totaling to 3,143 screens, averaging $6,705 per screen. The film’s budget was staggeringly low $4.5 million. The film marks the directorial debut of Jordan Peele, who also wrote the film, and stars Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams.

2. Logan5. Logan

The final outing of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine took the weekend box office last week. Going into its second week, the film grossed $37.8 million, raising the total gross to $152.7 million. Fox’s R-rated superhero flick faced a significant drop of 57.2% in its second week, retaining all 4,071 of its screens and averaging $9,297 per. The film has already made back its $97 million budget. The last hurrah of Wolverine is directed by James Mangold, who also co-wrote the film with Scott Frank and Michael Green, and also stars the legendary Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, and Boyd Holbrook.

1. Kong: Skull Island17. Kong

Warner Bros’ monster universe launched with Kong: Skull Island, and it kicked off a bang. Bringing in $61 million in its opening weekend, the film is on track to make back its $198.5 million budget. The film averaged $15,865 per screen on 3,846 screens. The film is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and adapted by Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstien, Derek Conolly, and John Gatins, and stars Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction), Brie Larson (Room), John C. Reilly (Chicago), and John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane).

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Therapy Session: A Review

Therapy Session: A Review

NF is a growing, intense presence in the rap game. Priding himself on real music, NF (real name Nate Feuerstein) is a lyricist with darker themes about dealing with internal struggles. His debut album, Mansion, was met with raves as a dark and gritty look into the mind of NF. Therapy Session is his return and serves as a second voyage into the thoughts and mind of NF and won the 2016 Dove Award for Best Hip-Hop/Rap Album, beating out the likes of Andy Mineo (Uncomfortable), Lecrae (Church Clothes 3), Tedashii (This Time Around), and Flame (Forward).

1. Intro 2

The sequel to his award winning “Intro” from Mansion was an inevitability. NF comes out hard and fast in Intro 2, featuring a piano and chorus driven beat to ride. The intense opener sets the stage for what’s to come, and warns fans that if you’re looking for happy songs you’re in the wrong place. This album is full of personal songs and how music is his therapist. The production is intense and instills both a sense of excitement and dread. NF rides this beat like a bull and tames the beast and he comes out hard.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

2. Therapy Session

Therapy Session takes the beat we last heard and slows it down and polishes. NF raps about how music is therapeutic to him and how it’s not just entertaining, it’s real life. He talks about the pressure and real stories that happen after shows. The rant is solidly produced. NF is a lyricist who couples words together in unexpected ways. Therapy Session is a downer, but it’s a rant song that is intriguing to those who are looking for a window into NF’s life.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

3. I Just Wanna Know

The second single off of Therapy Session is faster and features some faster-paced raps and poppies production. NF rides the beat expertly and masterly controls the track. The song talks about people changing and losing trust.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

4. How Could You Leave Us

This piano driven ballad is the most heartbreaking song you will hear for a long time. NF opens up his pure grief and anger and pours it into this song about his mother’s death by drug overdose. The emotional rap is overwhelming and will bring you to tears. The words land just right and the crying in the track only solidify the emotional response. It’s gut wrenching blow that moves the listeners to tears.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

5. Breathe

This slower song has echo-y production and some solid, unique stylistic choices. NF is a good vocalist as well. The slow track talks about everything he gave up to chase his dreams. The industry’s treatment of NF is called into question in this song. Despite some stylistic choices and interesting production, NF doesn’t ride the beat as well as he does in other tracks.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

6. Real

The piano driven style that NF excels in returns in this one. The bells and electronic vocal production is really good. NF hits this beat quickly and moves fast. This track flows quickly and NF goes near supersonic. He really speeds up what otherwise was a depressed first half. The song is pitch for him and his skill. He has some fun with this one and it’s refreshing.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

7. Oh Lord

This song is a wake-up call to Christians and people who claim a faith in God. The track calls out how two-faced and backstabbing humans are to God. He himself confesses that he’s guilty of it too but he really goes in with his wake up call. A fantastic song with great production, the song uses acoustic guitars for the beat, something NF does once an album. The song has very similar feel to “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. The song is an anthem and a song everyone needs to listen to. Like NF says, “ain’t nobody wanna pray until they got something to pray for.”

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

8. I Can Feel It

Starting out with pianos, NF shifts his focus on a more pop-influenced beat similar to Oh Lord. The vocally driven track features a simple hook and some medium-paced raps and talks about his reality. The song is an anthem for change and how to remain positive when the situation seems unfair.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

9. Got You On My Mind

This is NF’s very first love song and it is one for the books. The song goes slow and features vocals more than rap. The Hip-Hop song demonstrates NF’s more human side and talks about how he and his girl met and how much he cares about her. The song is a pretty track that is also soothing, relieving the intensity of the album and NF’s general mantra.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

10. Grindin’ (ft. Marty)

The album picks up big time and presents some work out tracks that are the real bangers of the album. This is the first of three. NF kills his beat and goes in, rapping about how hard he works and how the reason why he’s a top ten rapper is because he works harder at this than anyone else. He really rides this beat and gets his audience hyped. The song is well produced, featuring pianos, bells, and a choir and give some dramatic intensity. Marty’s verse is great and the comedy relief this album has been missing.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

11. Wish You Wouldn’t

Things slow down again and serves as a breakup song, driven by NF’s solid vocals. The raps aren’t here much, it’s just reliant NF and his singing voice. The song is pretty and understated, something NF doesn’t do often, but when he does it, he does it well.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

12. Statement

This is the second banger and is the one where NF gets to show off his speed and lyricism. There’s always one of these towards the end of every NF album. Taking a page from “Motivated” from Mansion, Statement sees him show off his speed and lyricism. He focuses more on the couplets and rhymes and puts to fast tracks. He really goes in on reminding his fans why he’s elite in their eyes.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. All I Do

The third banger on this album is more of a fun anthem. Taking the gritty style beat that NF thrives in and applying it to a bigger song, NF raps about how he’s proud of what he’s doing and why he likes it and one of the best. Production doesn’t really stand out from the rest of the album.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

14. Lost In The Moment (ft. Jonathan Thulin)

The closer of the album is one of the highlight in terms of production. Jonathan’s vocals are meshed with gentle and piano driven beat. NF raps gently about how life shouldn’t be taken so seriously, especially because it’s so short. The song is beautiful ballad telling us how hard life can be. The song is told from the perspective from God who real talks with him about how he’s feeling and how he can’t lie to him and the circle they’ve been stuck. The song is a beautiful song about being honest with yourself.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

 

Conclusion

Overall, NF delivers a less diverse version of Mansion with some bangers and a lot of raw and honest emotion. There a lot of emotional ballads and some fun joints that mesh together to make a pretty advanced package that is better than most rap musicians out there. NF is skilled and elite, but, in terms of production, this album has some highlights, but is ultimately a step down from the diverse package of MansionTherapy Session has some emotional and raw songs that are well written, some more so than the best of Mansion, but the production is pretty much steady repetition throughout, with some obvious exceptions.

Album Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

Uncomfortable: A Review

Uncomfortable: A Review

Andy Mineo has become one of the most elite rappers in the game. His flow pattern is off the charts and his songs come in a sleek production package. Overall, I’ve been impressed by his previous work: His debut mixtape Formerly Known, his debut album Heroes For Sale, and his EP Never Land, as well as his two singles: Lay Up and Candy Rain. I’ve been most impressed by his sophomore album, Uncomfortable. Here is my track by track analysis of Reach Records’ most prolific rapper.

1. Uncomfortable

The album starts off with a dramatic heart-to-heart, calling out America and the church on actions that have happened since his previous album. The song calls for its audience to get uncomfortable again. The song is very well produced and sounds very unique. Andy’s vocals are spot-on as well. The song excellently sets the tone for the rest of the album.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

2. Uptown

The album defuses any tension from the first track by bringing in a slower rap pushing a more toned down version of the same message. Andy paints a realistic picture of uptown New York City and what it’s like. The production features a nice blend of horns and piano, giving off a Chicago vibe. The production is very good and very sleek.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

3. Now I Know

Things pick up as Andy tells the story of his childhood and how everything he believed in his life was a lie. The song is silly and fun and serves as a warmer welcome to new timers. The production is stylistically choppy and electronic, sounding very much like an 8-bit arcade game. The vocals are stellar and Andy rides the beat just as well as he did in the last two tracks.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

4. Desperados (ft. Mali Music)

This song is the first of several bangers on the album. Produced with a hint of Western vibe and a menacing undertow, Desperados delivers one jam of a joint. Andy rides this beat harder than anything else on the album. Mali Music’s vocals are on point and the production choice to add gun shots was genius. The song just may be in contention for the best song of the album.

Track rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

5. Hear My Heart

This beautiful song has not just a great beat and smooth production, but a sweet message. This song is an open letter of love and a request for forgiveness from his sister Grace, who was born deaf. Andy’s vocals are slick and smooth, almost crooning to the chill beat. The heartfelt song is very well made and easy on the ears.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

6. David’s Roof

The instrumental intermission, produced by !llmind, features entrancing Mexican vocals in its smooth 1:10 playtime. The name is derived from the Bible story of King David and his lust after Bathsheba, whom he watched bathe on her roof (as accustomed) and married her after he murdered her wife. It serves its purpose well, but it’s not a track you will seek out to listen to.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

7. Rat Race (ft. Jon Bellion)

For those who are hot on Jon Bellion’s hip hop vocals, especially after his last album, you will find this track a treat. The song talks about the struggles of fame and how he refuses to play the “rap game” and be boxed in and labeled. Jon’s vocals take the cake in what is sure to be a rap music anthem. Andy eases up a bit in his cadence, but he rides this beat just as well as his other tracks, if not better.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

8. Know That’s Right

This song is another banger. The hook is chill, but the verses are lit. The production on this one will have everyone listening bouncing. Andy kills this joint, both vocally and when rapping. The song talks about his simple life and how he loves it, while he offers constructive criticism to friends.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

9. Vendetta

This song features the slickest production, with a very smooth Chicago feel. The song calls out government and compares artistry to industry and government. To quote his hook, “Pac did a lot more for me than Barack”. The song is ridden the best by Andy Mineo and features a beautiful blend of horns, piano, and drums. This song takes the cake as the most elite banger on the album.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

10. Ghost

Things slow down now and get sentimental. With an acoustic/electric guitar blend on the hook, it’s the piano and trap set that make the verses mix with the hook like a symphony. The song talks about how best friends grow apart and serves as an open letter to his friend. Andy’s vocals on this song match any singer/rapper in the game and raises. He rides this beat fantastically and the lyricism in the track help establish why Andy is elite.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

11. Love

This song sounds like it came straight off the streets of downtown Chicago. The smooth, R&B production is like silk to ears. Andy’s lyrics aren’t bad either. The song serves as both an explanatory letter to the fans as to why he didn’t drop an album in 2014 and a love letter to his newlywed wife. He also talks about what love really is and how a relationship is built. Like he says in his hook, “What we got if we don’t got love”.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

12. Strange Motions (ft. Willow Stephens)

The album slows down now and sounds like it a Weeknd song. Andy’s vocals are smokey and a little muted as a production choice that works well. This jazz song is the second of three rap free tracks on the album. This one is a duet between him and Willow. The two voices blend well together in this quick intermission duet. There wasn’t much to judge.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

13. Make Me A Believer (ft. Mac Powell)

This song has modern day mainstream rap production with the Mineo twist. Andy’s verse vocals are excellent blend seamlessly with the emotional and thick Southern hook by Mac Powell, the lead singer of CCM band Third Day. The song has excellent production and has great vocals from both Mac and Andy. Another rapless song that benefits without it. It’s an excellent hip-hop track to close the album out strong and with a big finish.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

 

Conclusion:

Andy Mineo is an elite rapper with an incredible skill of flow and a gift of lyricism. His vocal to rapper ratio is incredible and he pulls of being a singer and rapper, most of the time in the same song. The production, by !llmind, is fantastic. The instrumental tracks alone are masterpieces to listen to. This album benefits from having both a talented rapper and songwriter and master producer coupled together with a passion for the craft. This album is an underrated masterpiece.

Album Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

The Koho Music Awards

The Koho Music Awards

So I had fun with awards season and making predictions. While the Grammys are far passed, there are still a few more smaller award shows coming up. I decided I would do my own massive music awards here for all genres. The eligible contenders are music that’s been released between January 1, 2016, and March 3, 2017. All genres that I have input on will be included here and there will be five nominees per category, except record, album & song of the year. I will bold the winners on March 8, 2017.

 

Record of the Year:

adele_-_hello_official_single_cover

  • “Hello” – Adele
  • “Shape of You” – Ed Sheeran
  • “Let Me Love You” – DJ Snake (ft. Justin Bieber)
  • “7 Years” – Lukas Graham
  • “Closer” – The Chainsmokers (ft. Halsey)
  • “One Dance” – Drake (ft. WizKid & Kyla)
  • “24K Magic” – Bruno Mars

Album of the Year:maxresdefault

  • ÷ – Ed Sheeran
  • Purpose – Justin Bieber
  • Where The Light Shines Through – Switchfoot
  • Illuminate – Shawn Mendes
  • Therapy Session – NF
  • Know-It-All – Alessia Cara
  • 25 – Adele

Song of the Yearbenrector_article

  • “Galway Girl” – Ed Sheeran
  • “7 Years” – Lukas Graham
  • “This Town” – Niall Horan
  • “Mercy” – Shawn Mendes
  • “Brand New” – Ben Rector
  • “Unsteady” – X Ambassadors
  • “Nancy Mulligan” – Ed Sheeran

Best New Artistnf-web2

  • Chance The Rapper
  • The Chainsmokers
  • NF
  • Alessia Cara
  • Lukas Graham

Artist of the Yeared-sheeran-galway-girl-song

  • Ed Sheeran
  • Adele
  • Demi Lovato
  • Shawn Mendes
  • for KING & COUNTRY

Best Pop Solo Performanceariana-grande-11-billboard-2014-650x430

  • “Hello” – Adele
  • “Love Yourself” – Justin Bieber
  • “Galway Girl” – Ed Sheeran
  • “Dangerous Woman” – Ariana Grande
  • “This Town” – Niall Horan

Best Pop/Duo Performancethe_chainsmokers_0-1366x800

  • “Stressed Out” – Twenty One Pilots
  • “Closer” – The Chainsmokers (ft. Halsey)
  • “Priceless” – for KING & COUNTRY
  • “7 Years” – Lukas Graham
  • “Cheap Thrills” – Sia (ft. Sean Paul)

Best Pop Vocal Albummaxresdefault1

  • 25 – Adele
  • ÷ – Ed Sheeran
  • Confident – Demi Lovato
  • Dangerous Woman – Ariana Grande
  • Illuminate – Shawn Mendes

Best Dance Recordingmaxresdefault2

  • “Don’t Let Me Down” – The Chainsmokers (ft. Daya)
  • “Never Be Like You” – Flume (ft. Kai)
  • “Roses”- The Chainsmokers (ft. ROZES)
  • “This Is What You Came For” – Calvin Harris (ft. Rihanna)
  • Fast Car” – Jonas Blue (ft. Dakota)

Best Dance Albumhillsong_y26f

  • Skin – Flume
  • Collage – The Chainsmokers
  • Youth Revival (Live) – Hillsong Young & Free
  • Encore – DJ Snake
  • Peace Is The Mission – Major Lazer

Best Rock Performancesdut-switchfoot-discusses-music-faith-and-adversity-2016jul02

  • “If The House Burns Down Tonight” – Switchfoot
  • “Death of a Bachelor” – Panic! At The Disco
  • “Feel Invincible” – Skillet
  • “Heathens” – Twenty One Pilots
  • “The Sound of Silence” – Disturbed

Best Rock Songwatch-panic-at-the-disco-perform-on-the-late-late-show-with-james-corden-02

  • “Death of a Bachelor” – Panic! At The Disco
  • “Torches” – Daughtry
  • “Stars” – Skillet
  • “The Sound of Silence” – Disturbed
  • “If The House Burns Down Tonight” – Switchfoot

Best Rock Albumxyecglod

  • Where The Light Shines Through – Switchfoot
  • Death of a Bachelor – Panic! At The Disco
  • It’s Not Over – Daughtry
  • Unleashed – Skillet
  • California – blink-182

Best Rap Performance251004

  • “How Could You Leave Us” – NF
  • “Sidelines” – Lecrae
  • “Candy Rain” – Andy Mineo
  • “Get Down Get Down” – KJ-52
  • “Be Me” – Tedashii

Best Rap/Sung Performanceandy-mineo-top20-sm

  • “How Could You Leave Us” – NF
  • “Candy Rain” – Andy Mineo
  • “Oh Lord” – NF
  • “Hotline Bling” – Drake
  • “Can’t Do You” – Lecrae (ft. E-40)

Best Rap Songkj-52-4ee4581586d28

  • “Can’t Do You” – Lecrae (ft. E-40)
  • “Nah Bruh” – KJ-52 (ft. Canon & B. Cooper)
  • “How Great” – Chance The Rapper (ft. Jay Electronica & My cousin Nicole)
  • “Statement” – NF
  • “Candy Rain” – Andy Mineo

Best Rap Albumnf-web2

  • Therapy Session – NF
  • Coloring Book – Chance The Rapper
  • Jonah – KJ-52
  • Church Clothes 3 – Lecrae
  • I Decided. – Big Sean

Best Country Solo Performance131024_ai13_ku_silk_034rev1

  • “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” – Keith Urban
  • “Die A Happy Man” – Thomas Rhett
  • “Something In The Water” – Carrie Underwood
  • “Leave The Night On (Acoustic)” – Sam Hunt
  • “Kick The Dust Up” – Luke Bryan

Best Country/Duo/Group Performancepromoted-media-optimized_56ba3b7cd595a

  • “Jolene” – Pentatonix (ft. Dolly Parton)
  • “Different For Girls” – Dierks Bentley (ft. Elle King)
  • “Setting The World On Fire” – Kenny Chesney & P!nk
  • “H.O.L.Y.” – Florida Georgia Line
  • “21 Summer” – Brothers Osborne

Best Contemporary Christian Songkbpmb6ph

  • “Priceless” – for KING & COUNTRY
  • “Trust In You” – Lauren Daigle
  • “Good Good Father” – Chris Tomlin
  • “Oh Lord” – NF
  • “Where The Light Shines Through” – Switchfoot

Best Contemporary Christian Album6468178

  • Where The Light Shines Through – Switchfoot
  • How Can It Be – Lauren Daigle
  • RUN WILD. LIVE FREE. LOVE STRONG. (Anniversary Edition) -for KING & COUNTRY
  • Hits Deep Live – TobyMac
  • The Very Next Thing – Casting Crowns

Best Christian Artistthe-best-contemporary-christian-artists-u2

  • TobyMac
  • Lauren Daigle
  • Matthew West
  • Francesca Battistelli

  • for KING & COUNTRY

Best Musical Theater Albumhamilton

  • Hamilton
  • The Color Purple
  • The Hamilton Mixtape
  • Waitress
  • Finding Neverland

Best Soundtrack For Visual Mediatumblr_static_5pmkp6ctiyw4w080oc0s4kgwk

  • Moana
  • Sing Street
  • Suicide Squad
  • La La Land
  • The Hamilton Mixtape

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Mediarogueone_logo-0-0

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • La La Land
  • Passengers
  • Moonlight
  • Moana

Best Song Written For Visual Medialala-land

  • “CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!” – Justin Timberlake, Trolls
  • “Heathens” – Twenty One Pilots, Suicide Squad
  • “Try Everything” – Shakira, Zootopia
  • “Drive It Like You Stole It” – Hudson Thames, Sing Street
  • “Another Day of Sun” – The Cast of La La land, La La Land

Best Local Songmaxresdefault3

  • “Onomatopoeia” – Kaleb Koho
  • “Together” – C-Los (ft. MyzBeatz)
  • “God & Society” – SW
  • “Sit Back” – SW (ft. CLee)
  • “Desperados (Live)” – SW (ft. Kaleb Koho)

Best Local Artistimg_4071

  • Kaleb Koho
  • SW
  • C-Los
  • MyzBeatz
  • CLee

Special Achievements

Album Achievement: The Hamilton Mixtape7ddd36cfe52ebd587314cd5a5962dacb-1000x886x1

Artist Achievement: Lin-Manuel Mirandalin-manuel-miranda-moana

 

 

 

÷: A Review

÷: A Review

Introduction

Ed Sheeran is one of the top artists in the world, capturing audiences with his powerful vocals, catchy lyrics, and thrilling stories. Starting out in the United Kingdom, Ed was discovered via internet media sites YouTube and MySpace, performing covers and original songs to thousands of listeners and fans. In 2011, Ed Sheeran released his debut album +, pronounced “plus,” and gained instant acclaim with hits such as “The A Team,” “Lego House,” & “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”. He was nominated for Song of the Year at the Grammys that year for “The A Team,” as well as opening up Taylor Swift’s Red Tour and headlining three sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden. He followed up the success with his smash hit, (pronounced “Multiply”), in 2014. The album featured countless hit songs such as “Don’t,” “Sing,” “Thinking Out Loud,” “Photograph,” & “I See Fire”. The album also featured hidden gems such as “Tenerife Sea,” “The Man,” “I’m A Mess,” “One,” “Afire Love,” “Take It Back,” “Runaway,” “Bloodstream,” “Nina,” “Shirtsleeves,” and the suicide prevention balled, “Even My Dad Does Sometimes”. Sheeran has received numerous awards from the album including two Grammys in 2016 for Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Solo Performance, both for “Thinking Out Loud”. On March 3, 2017, Ed released his third album: ÷ (Pronounced “Divide”). Today, I’m reviewing the new album track by track.

1. Eraser

The opening song of Sheeran’s last two albums set the tone for the rest of the piece. Eraser does not. Where The A Team launched + with a sentimental ballad and One launched X with a gentle love song, Eraser launches ÷ with a fast, acoustic rap song setting up what I believed was going to be a big pop album, and I was pleasantly disappointed when the rest of the album did not follow the tone set by Eraser. The song itself is big, bombastic, and boasting, borrowing the template for Take It Back (from X) and blowing it up a couple notches. This is definitely the low point of the album, only going up from there.

Track Rating: 6/10

Grade: C+

2. Castle on the Hill

The first single released for this album, Castle on the Hill is a nostalgic ballad about growing up and memories. The song is fast paced and personal at the same time. The big chorused song manages to walk the line between big stadium ballad and personal story song seamlessly. The production itself is great. A fantastic, original song unlike anything I’ve heard previously in Sheeran’s catalog.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

3. Dive

Dive slows things down after the first two tracks, placed perfectly. Dive is a beautiful, crooner-styled song, backdropped by a beautiful electric guitar riff coupled with a low bass. The song cautions against being played and led on. The song has a very vintage feel to it and Sheeran’s vocals hold the listener’s attention throughout the entire track. Another brilliantly original song that sounds unlike anything I’ve ever heard from Sheeran before.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

4. Shape of You

The second single released by Sheeran picks the pace up a little from Dive, but it doesn’t compromise the originality of the smooth production and melody. The song’s beat is acoustic, featuring acoustic guitars and cajons, but the melody is kept by a very tropical house sound. The song itself details an encounter between Sheeran and a woman he met in a bar and how he wants to love her. A familiar subject matter repackaged in a sleek new model.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

5. Perfect

Perfect attempts to capture the same magic as Thinking Out Loud and manages to recapture some of the same themes and repurpose them into a new slow song. The song is sure to be a staple of high school slow dances. Perfect details the story of first love and how his woman looks..well, perfect. The song is beautiful and unique.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

6. Galway Girl

The album takes a big twist tonally and merges his rap ability with a jam that is sure have every listener singing along for a long time. Galway Girl tells the story a girl who “plays a fiddle in an Irish band and falls in love with an Englishman”. Ed details his encounter with a woman who he met in a bar and had a perfect night with. The song has Irish fiddles and influences in its production, which speaks to me personally (I’m Irish). The song is infectious in its groove and lyrics. The woman in the song is suspected to be the fiddler for the Irish band Beoga, who Ed tagged in his tweet celebrating the song reaching number one in Ireland. A fantastic song that is sure to please everyone; a classic for sure.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

7. Happier

The album takes another right turn into slow town with the first breakup tune of the album. The song tells the story of Sheeran seeing his ex being happier with her new man. He claims to be at fault for what went wrong and how he still loves her, but he is happy that she is happy. The song is tragic and heartbreaking, with production similar to artists such as Matthew West and Brandon Heath. Taking a moment to slow our breathing down post Galway Girl  was a smart pacing decision and fits in nicely.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

8. New Man

The album picks up a little bit more with a medium paced song that watches Ed rips on the new man of one of his ex-girlfriends and calls her out on two-timing activities that she’s been pulling on her new man. This song’s subject matter is half original and half a mixture of themes from Don’t and The Man, down to the use of self-censoring his f-words in the chorus with breaths. This song also features the funniest lyric I’ve ever heard in any song ever. It occurs early in the song. You’ll know it when you hear it.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here

We slow back down a bit here and hear him sing about his desired new love in an Irish-inspired tune. The song adopts the Irish ballad-style guitar pattern used by artists like Rend Collective. The song is beautiful and naturally builds, singing about how they’re in love and how hearts don’t break around here. It’s a pretty song that is similar tonally to Photograph.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

10. What Do I Know?

The album speeds up again with a faster paced tune, bringing back the chill electric guitars and a similar melody to that used in Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” also written by Ed Sheeran. The production is solid and the message is inspiring. The song talks about what life is about and how music changes everything, but hey, what does he know?

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

11. How Would You Feel (Paean)

The third and final single from ÷ was released on Valentine’s Day. The slow and beautiful ballad again tries to resurrect the magic of Thinking Out Loud, partially accomplishing its mission, but I feel like Perfect is a better version of this song about first love. The production is nice, featuring a nice blend of strings and acoustic guitars. All in all it’s a very beautiful song, but I feel that Perfect accomplishes this song’s purpose better.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

12. Supermarket Flowers

The album pulls the momentum gained by the built up speed from the previous song and makes up for it with a beautiful piano driven song. The song is a tribute to his deceased mother and how I feels without his mom, whom he calls “an angel in the shape of his mom”. The tragic and beautiful evokes an emotional response and made me cry. Cherish those you love, because you don’t know how long you have them.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. Barcelona

Things speed up again with a fast-paced song about dancing with his loved one and gives this Latin-inspired pop song a dance infused tropical ere. The song’s production is solid and is chill, but also very aggressive vocally. The song is a pretty and fun jam. It does leave something to be desired in the production, however.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

14. Bibia Be Ye Ye

The song increases speed again, giving us a road house worthy song. The song tells about things Ed regrets and yet how tomorrow is a new day and things are looking up. The fun song’s hook is somewhat gibberish, but it’s entertaining nonetheless. The song is really fun and keeps building momentum towards another fantastic climax. The production is solid.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

15. Nancy Mulligan

The song is written and produced in an Irish-style melody and is a foot-tapping good time. The song tells the story of how his grandfather William Sheeran met his grandmother Nancy Mulligan. They met during World War II and ran away together from Belfast, Ireland, down at the Wexford Border. The song is the climax of the album, ending things on a high, fast-paced note. This song is definitely a greatest hit for Ed Sheeran.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

16. Save Myself

The final song serves as a slow, personal introspection about his emotional state after a bad breakup and how he needs to learn to love himself before he can love another. The tragically beautiful song serves as an epilogue to the climactic and happy ending that was Nancy Mulligan. The piano driven song closes it out on a very real note.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

Conclusion

This album is worthy and very fitting follow-up to the masterpiece that was X. To properly sum up this album’s virtue and worth, I must equate Ed Sheeran to another fantastic pop artist: Michael Jackson. In 1979, Michael Jackson released his solo debut Off The Wall, which people only remember for a few songs. In 1982, Thriller was released and became not just his best album, but the best album of all time. In 1988, Bad was released and everyone agrees, while not better than ThrillerBad is a fantastic album that just falls short of Thriller. This is how I would sum up Ed Sheeran’s discography as well. + is a fine album with a couple of great songs. X is a masterpiece and may never be topped by its creator. ÷ is a fantastic album, in fact a near masterpiece, that falls just short of X. It’s worth very penny you pay for it and I love almost every song on the album. Ed Sheeran is a music master and this album is fantastic.

Overall Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+