Top 15 Broadway (and Off-Broadway) Musicals

Top 15 Broadway (and Off-Broadway) Musicals

Introduction:

Musical theatre is one of my favorite mediums of storytelling. I was introduced to it at a young age in elementary school and soon became obsessed with performing in, and later writing, musicals. While performing in smaller school musicals and originals around my town in middle school was fun, high school introduced me to a whole new world (pun intended) of musical theatre. Here are my fifteen favorite musicals from both Broadway and Off-Broadway of all time.

15. School of Rock (2015-)school-of-rock-broadway

Based on the cult classic film starring Jack Black, the musical adapted to the stage by Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber (The Phantom of the Opera) is a fun, brilliant joyride with excellent music and a fantastic performance by Alex Brightman. The show might’ve won the Tony for Best Musical had it not been up against Hamilton.

14. Grease (1971-1980, 1993-1999)grease-musical-raleigh-febraury-2016

The musical that inspired the classic film, Jim Jacobs’ profane and aggressive treasure was based on his own high school experiences and were transformed into a musical that spoke to youthful audiences of the time. The music is iconic, so much so that after it’s 1980 closing, the musical was revived for a 90s run.

13. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (2013-2015)thumb_100_1920x0_0_0_auto

Originally written for television, Broadway legends Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II crafted a wonderful adaption of the French version of the classic story. The TV musical was adapted for Broadway in 2013 by Douglas Carter Beane, who translated it with poise and fantastical grace. The show is wonderful and near and dear to my heart, admittedly because I played the role of Jean-Michel in my junior year of high school.

12. The Addams Family (2010-2011)1476917706-5428757-the_addams_family_musical_tickets

The Broadway adaption of Charles Addams’ comic strip family came as a surprise to many. The show was adapted by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and featured great music with a wonderful story. The show also had great performances by Kevin Chamberlain, Nathan Lane, Krysta Rodriguez, and Bebe Neuwirth.

11. 21 Chump Street (2014)14444585426_a76a70bb6f_b

Based on an episode of This American Life, the fifteen minute musical debuted as a radio drama before making an Off-Broadway debut. The musical was written by the genius Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also played the Narrator. The show featured a stellar premiere performance from Anthony Ramos, who would go on to star in Hamilton. The show is often overlooked, but features incredible music and a tragic tale.

10. In The Heights (2008-2011)alt_50684

Speaking of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the genius playwright made his debut with this show. A wonderful snapshot of the world of Washington Heights, Lin starred in the lead role and wrote the music. The show’s earliest draft was written by Miranda, but the show’s credited playwright is Quiara Alegría Hudes, who wrote the book. The show features rap, salsa, and tons of wonderful music. The show also introduced the Broadway world to not just Lin, but also the wonderful talents of Christopher Jackson, Mandy Gonzalez, and Javier Muñoz. The show also won the Tony for Best Musical.

9. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (2010-2011)

I’m a sucker for a historically based story, especially when it’s accurate. I’m also a sucker for rock musicals. Alex Timbers brilliantly combines the two into a wonderful show, with a fantastic performance from Benjamin Walker in the title role. The show was snubbed by The Book of Mormon, but this musical is still a fantastic satire with wonderful music.

8. Chicago (1975-1977, 1996-)event_image-135

The longest running musical in Broadway history, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse’s prolific show is spectacle that is unlike anything else on Broadway. Despite receiving a short original run with mixed reviews, the show was revived to mass praise and acclaim in 1996 and is still running 21 years later. It’s a fantastic show with wonderful music. I played D.A. Harrsion when my school performed it my sophomore year. It’s a show unique in design and style.

7. Wicked (2003-)wicked-the-musical

One of the greatest musicals of the 21st century, the show, adapted by Winnie Holzman from the prolific book by Gregory Maguire, features great music and breakout performances from Broadway legends Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenowith. Telling the alternative take of the classic story, one of cinema and literature’s greatest villains becomes one of Broadway’s most tragic heroes. It’s a wonderful show that pushed the boundaries of what could be done from a technical standpoint in design for Broadway shows.

6. Little Shop of Horrors (1982-1987, 2003-2004)000188_hero

One of Off-Broadway’s biggest hits, the show is based on the 1960 film and the musical, in turn, inspired the 1986 remake. It made a brief revival on Broadway in 2003, but was panned by critics. The show features incredible music that is memorable and featured a great performance from Ellen Greene. I played the role of Bernstein in my freshman year production of the show, but lends to my bias, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a wonderful show.

5. Heathers (2014)home-girls

The brief Off-Broadway run might seem like it was a failure, but Heathers (based on the 80s cult classic film) found a huge cult audience and won over many fans. With a book wonderfully adapted by Lawrence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy, the show features amazing music and breakout performances by Barrett Wilbert Weed, Jessica Keenan Wynn, and Ryan McCartan.

4. Jekyll & Hyde (1997-2001, 2013)000181_hero

This show is haunting, prolific, and an incredible thrill ride. Adapted from the literary classic by Leslie Bricusse, the show featured a breakout performance from Robert Cuccioli from its original cast, Coleen Sexton from the final cast, and an incredible  surprise turn from David Hasselhoff. The show ran for 5 years and received a DVD recording of Hasselfhoff’s final performance. The show made a very brief revival in 2013, but was not very memorable. It is a fantastic show with vocally challenging roles.

3. RENT (1996-2008, 2011-2012)rent

You thought I wasn’t going to include one of Broadway’s greatest shows? You’re crazy. Jonathan Larson is on the same level of genius as Lin-Manuel Miranda, but his time was tragically cut short. His crowning achievement is this wonderful rock show about living with AIDS, as well as living in New York. Broadway legends are born from this show, including Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, and Wilson Jermaine Heredia. With great music and a wonderful cast, this show goes down in history as one of the greats. Born in 1996 and running to an end in 2008, the show was revived Off-Broadway for a relatively brief run.

2. Dear Evan Hansen (2016-)90

Many will eye-roll because I included a very new musical, but this show truly deserves it. This show is a wonderful treasure, with incredible music and a touching story about suicide and loss. Ben Platt makes a huge star turn with his amazing performance. The show is written by Steven Levenson, with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the duo behind the Oscar-winning masterpiece La La Land. It’s for sure one of my most favorite shows.

1. Hamilton (2015-)hamilton

Of course this my number one. Hamilton is the perfect show in my opinion. It blends everything I love into one massive show: American history, rap music, and great storytelling. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a certifiable genius, writing a masterpiece show. It also features incredible performances from Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Daveed Diggs, Christopher Jackson, Leslie Odom Jr, and Jonathan Groff, all of which are now certifiable Broadway royalty. It’s an incredible show, with music unparralled and performances unmatched in any musical, on or off Broadway, in the history of the craft.

 

Magic & Bird: A Review

Magic & Bird: A Review

Introduction

Since it was teased from the start of the year, Magic & Bird has been one of the most anticipated releases of the summer. This is the year that CHH returned, with artists such as Lecrae, Andy Mineo, and NF all dropping albums in later half of this year. But before Andy Mineo drops the long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Uncomfortable, he announced a “fun summer mixtape” would be released with his friend and collaborator, Wordsplayed. Andy Mineo launched his career in 2011 with his mixtape Formerly Known and his debut album Heroes For Sale. He followed that up with his 2013 EP Never Land before dropping his 2015 sophomore album Uncomfortable and his 2016 single Candy Rain. Wordsplayed launched his career with his 2016 debut album Clowntown. Now, the two rappers have joined forces for Magic & Bird, an album named after the legendary NBA stars Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. This has been one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I cannot wait the listen and review this album.

1. HI-FIVE (LOADING)

This introduction track is a comedic, retro-styled track. The first half of this song is styled like a retro sports game centering around Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The second half sees a coach giving a comedic attempt at a motivational speech warning kids about the “high-contact sport” that is life and warning against ending up as a greasy car salesman. It perfectly sets the tone for the album: fun and nonsensical joy.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

2. KIDZ

The first single from the mixtape was well-received and continues to shine on the album. Wordsplayed goes first, rapping about success on Spotify and his life. Andy goes second, rapping about love and individuality. The connective tissue that ties their verses together, “I’m in the pocket like Brady/Magic and Bird like the 80s”. As they claim in the hook, they do it for the kids, and this “kid” throughly enjoyed this track. It’s well-constructed with a great beat and expert vocalization. They control this track with master flow-patterns and timing.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

3. DUNK CONTEST (MAGIC BIRD)

The second single appears next. Once again, Wordsplayed starts, but it’s a back and forth between him and Andy. In comparison, the beat is more low-key than the last track, and the hook is more simple, but it works. It’s fun, with great lyricism from Andy and Wordsplayed. Their timing and chemistry is even stronger in this track and more precise. Andy has some outro commentary on Magic & Bird’s rivalry that seamlessly plays into the theme of the track. Overall, it’s a fun song, and solid display of lyricism from the two.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

4. SAY LESS

As soon as I heard “GAWVI, get em,” I knew we were in for a fun time. GAWVI is the Reach Records producing genius and artist in his own right. Andy comes out with some mumbling rapping, which was different, but he picks up his steam as he goes on. This is the first time ever I can honestly say Wordsplayed was better than Andy Mineo on a track with the two. Wordsplayed’s verse was straight fire with great lyricism, while Andy’s was more subdued than normal. The beat was different, with Eastern vibes and 80s influence and it works. Overall, this track is strong, but stands as the weakest of the project so far. The hook is mediocre, as his the first verse. The track is well produced, but the lyricism comes back hard in the second verse. It’s a pretty decent song.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

5. DISQUIS (Skit)

The skit is performed by Andy Mineo doing an accent and it’s hilarious. The skit sees an Olympic tryout telling kids in a comedic fashion to encourage kids to never give up, telling them of his attempt to throw a disquis and his training, resulting him being covered in sweat. It’s mildly funny. It’s not the funniest of the spoken material so far, but it’s a solid intermission.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

6. R.U.T.S.

This beat already sounds intense in the beginning, but then Andy gets on and takes an even more intense command. The verse is very strong and Andy slays this track with expert lyricism and a superior flow pattern. He rides the beat flawlessly. The hook reveals what R.U.T.S. stands for: Run Up The Score. Wordsplayed jumps on and rides this beat just as perfectly. His flow pattern is strong and his lyricism, while not as incredible as Andy, is amazing in his own right. It’s a perfect workout or athletics song. It’s easily the best offering so far since KIDZ.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

7. JUDO (feat. Judo)

The third single released features the producer Judo. JUDO is a strong track. It has the sleakest production of the album so far. Andy gets on with great lyricism and rides the beat well. The vocals on this song are beautiful and fun to listen to. The hook is silly and fun and work perfectly with the song. Wordsplayed has fun on this song and rocks it. They both have killer one liners in their verse that absolutely slay it. It’s a great song that also works in hyping and in athletic situations.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

8. BREAK BREAD

The vocals are coated in some auto tune that adds to the track, which as good production. Andy comes in with some strong lyricism about being isolated in the industry by producers and merchandisers. This track has a great hook. Wordsplayed makes references to the Minnesota Vikings, which makes me rather bias, but he continues the same themes very well. It’s the most subdued track of the album, but it works very well.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

9. METRO (Skit)

The second skit sees a lady lose her metro card and she talks Andy about it. It’s not as funny, but it really is about how this lady has faith in the Lord about being okay. It’s a solid intermission.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

10. DANCE (You See It)

This track launches strong  with great production and Wordsplayed, who absolutely kills it in his first verse with strong lyricism. “I told I was kinda strange, and, yeah, I can’t debate it” is my favorite line. Andy jumps in with a good hook and then launches into his verse. He rides the beat well with great timing and masterful lyricism and amazing wordplay. It’s a solid jam with a great ending.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

11. TEAM (feat. BEAM)

The track starts with some vocals that sound Jamaican reggae and work very well on the track. The song sounds like it’s slower and is about teamwork and how you need a team to make it in life. Andy jumps in with some great lyricism and a strong verse featuring personal stories. Wordsplayed follows him with a strong verse with some personal stories as well. This song has the best hook out of all of the tracks on the album.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

12. LEGEND

The track starts with the guy from DISQUIS and Wordsplayed yelling at the audience about needing to work until they sweat to get better. The track then launches into a what sounds like the perfect culmination of the album. Wordsplayed jumps in first and gives a strong verse with some solid wordplay. The hook is just some remixed phrases, but it works well. Andy jumps in with a very strong verse about how long he will last and his team, tying every theme together. His verse is incredible with amazing lyricism and some personal introspection. Andy jumps back into his second verse and makes some comments on Donald Trump and his ex-girlfriend (unrelated, but they’re both killer lines). Wordsplayed jumps into his second verse and talks about his situations. The most poignant line in song: “There ain’t no time to rest when you’re trying to be a legend”. This is a great song from both men, who are talented enough to do just that. The track then transitions into Wordsplayed and the guy from DISQUIS giving some comedic coaching to someone about wanting to smell..no, taste, the hardwork the audience has been putting in. It’s a comedic little thing to cap off the best song on the album.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. LAY UP (Bonus)

Originally released as a single by Andy Mineo in early 2015 and featuring Wordsplayed, this fun jam returns and fights a perfect fit as a bonus track on this mixtape. It’s an absolute jam with some great lyricism and wordplay from both Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed. It’s a fun way to cap off the album after the semi-serious note that LEGEND ended on.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion

This album is a fun and very strong piece of music that is filled with an energy that comes from two best friends making music they’re passionate about together. They’re fantastic together and is a perfect project to remind us the fun that Andy can have before he comes back with his fourth album that is sure to hold nothing back. In the end, Magic & Bird is filled strong lyricism, solid production, and masterful flow patterns. In the end, the message of their album rings true and they kill it: There ain’t no time to rest when you’re trying to be a legend. The two of them are a perfect match. Overall, their album is very strong and I can’t wait to hear what’s next from the two.

Album Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

Dear Evan Hansen: A Review

Dear Evan Hansen: A Review

Introduction:

Broadway is still reeling from the game-changing success of Hamilton, the rap musical that has taken the world by storm. Over a year after their major Tony Award sweep, Broadway is now buzzing about an under-appreciated gem: Dear Evan Hansen. The pop musical tells the story of Evan Hansen, a suicidal teen with social anxiety and a broken family background who is told to write letters addressed to himself to subside the anxiety. After a classmate commits suicide and is found with one of Evan’s letters, he mistaken as a friend of Connor Murphy’s, propelling him into the life he’s always wanted when he lands his dream girl and gets a new family. But can a family built on lies stand? The fantastic musical is written by Steven Levenson with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Directed by the Tony-award winning Michael Greif (Rent) with orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton).

1. Anybody Have a Map?

The first song in the musical sets up the different family dynamics perfectly, backdropped by a great pop sound. The utilization of acoustic guitars and pop stylings similar to Phillip Phillips is great. It’s a wonderful song to start the musical with.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

2. Waiving Through A Window

This is the My Shot of Dear Evan Hansen. This is an amazing ballad that talks about Evan’s anxiety and desires, with subtle hints to his failed suicide attempt. It’s an incredible song that I am really surprised didn’t make a bigger splash with mainstream audiences.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

3. For Forever

The song follows Evan’s fantasy as he imagines what it would be like to have a best friend while painting a realistic, fantastical, tragic story for Connor’s parents about the last time he saw his “friend”. It’s a very well done ballad about friendship that really brings tears to the eyes.

Trak Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

4. Sincerely, Me

After Connor parents ask Evan for more letters between the two, he enlists the help of a classmate, Jacob, to forge emails between Connor and Evan that paint them as friends. It’s a fun, bantering, boisterous song that just rocks. It’s so fun to listen to and sing along with.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

5. Requiem

This song is tragic and a sad, acoustic song that shows the individual feelings of hurt, sorrow, and betrayal felt by the family of Connor Murphy. It’s a hard song to get through. It’s pretty, but it’s not one that I will revisit any time soon.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

6. If I Could Tell Her

This is a great love song. Zoe, Connor’s sister and Evan’s dream girl, asks him if her brother ever said anything about her. Evan, not knowing Connor, just says how he feels about her and what he thinks about her as if her brother said it. Ben Platt and Laura Dreyfuss play off each other very well in this song and the brief acting bits in the recorded track are stellar. Platt’s vocals are incredible.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

7. Disappear

This is another tragic song, but the entire ensemble comes together to make this a positive song. The ghost of Connor that has been present with Evan throughout the story begs him to make sure he isn’t forgotten. As the chorus says, “No one deserves to be forgotten.” It picks up over the course of the song and ends in a swelling of emotions.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

8. You Will Be Found

Another ensemble piece, the act one finale picks right up from the previous track and provides hope and inspiration to the those who feel lost. It’s a wonderful song that is fueled with emotion and passion. It’s a great song and one of the best first act finales of all time.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

9. To Break In a Glove

This song felt out of place at first, but upon repeat listening, it fits perfectly. It not only gives Evan the father figure he always wanted and needed, it also shows Connor’s father’s pain of losing his son and the sense of failure he feels. It’s a beautiful and well-produced song.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

10. Only Us

The second love song of the show is not as good as the first. It’s a pretty duet where Zoe reassures Evan about why she loves him. It’s nice and adds to the story, but it isn’t the best version of what it was trying to be.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

11. Good For You

This song is the only one that is fueled by anger and spit and thus is the only rock song in the show. It’s like a break up song between Evan’s mom and his two friends to him for leaving them behind for his new family with the Murphy’s. It’s the most underrated song of the show.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

12. Words Fail

This is really the saddest song of the show. Evan comes clean to the family in this emotional ballad that exposes the personality and the psyche of Evan Hansen. It’s an explosion of emotion and features the best singing and acting blend I’ve seen in Broadway history. Ben Platt is amazing.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. So Big/So Small

This was a really sad song that adds to Evan’s story and adds character to his mom, but overall, it feels sort of jarring and out of place. It’s nonetheless a good song. It really hits emotionally and gives Evan’s mom her due emotionally, bringing her range full circle.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

14. Finale

This short and sweet finale leaves the audience simultaneously satisfied with the landing, but wanting more of a definitive conclusion. There’s not much in this song to say anything negatively.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

Conclusion:

Dear Evan Hansen is an amazing project and is a masterclass in performance art. Ben Platt is a massive talent and the whole team involved hold their own and shine. If Dear Evan Hansen had not been released so close to Hamilton, I think it would’ve been more of a phenomenon. Overall, Dear Evan Hansen is worth the download and is one of the best musical theatre albums of all time.

Album Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

 

Top 40: Ed Sheeran

Top 40: Ed Sheeran

Recently, I had the idea to start a series of ranking articles and came up with the idea of doing a Top 40 list. By Top 40, I mean my 40 favorite songs by a particular artist. The obvious first choice was Ed Sheeran, my favorite artist of the twenty-first century. Today, I will be ranking my top 40 Ed Sheeran songs.

40. Small Bump – +

The song comes midway through Sheeran’s debut and is a fun, sweet, acoustic song about pregnancy and love. It’s a very chill jam that tells a sweet story. Sheeran also released a live version of the song on the Wembley Edition of X, but the original + version is better in my opinion.

39. New York – X (Wembley Edition)

One of many special additions from the Wembley Edition of Sheeran’s sophomore effort, New York tells the story of falling in love in the big apple.

38. Everything You Are – Don’t (EP)

One of the forgotten gems of Ed Sheeran, this song appears on his EP Don’t, which preceded X. The song has a very Elton John vibe to it and is so much fun to listen to. It’s a crime it didn’t get more recognition.

37. Even My Dad Does Sometimes – X

This slow ballad talks about how it’s okay to cry and mourn the tragedies and hard things that come your way. It’s a beautiful song that pleads the listener to keep going and not give up.

36. Shirtsleeves – X

This song about comforting heartbroken friends details the story of a boy who loves a girl who has just now become available and he makes himself present to her by comforting her. It’s a song with a sweet sentiment.

35. Take It Back – X

One of the lesser known songs from Sheeran’s second album, Take It Back demonstrates the third talent in this singer/songwriter’s toolbox that makes him a triple threat: rapping. Performing over an acoustic beat, Sheeran demonstrates an elegant flow pattern that absolutely kills while he simultaneously shreds on his guitar.

34. Barcelona – ÷

Appearing on his junior effort, the latin-pop blend mixed with Sheeran’s trademark acoustic stylings is a killer track that is sure to get your feet tapping.

33. Bloodstream – X

This tragic song about doing drugs is a cautionary tale told from Sheeran’s own personal experiences.

32. Don’t – X

This track about friends with benefits was the most popular to come off X and was named one of the songs of the summer upon its release, garnering ludicrous amounts of radio play. Unfortunately, this is why it’s so low on my list.

31. I’m A Mess – X

This song about emotional heartache is evocative and features some of Sheeran’s best vocals.

30. Runaway – X

This song tells the story of a child running away from home, which is inspired by Sheeran’s own personal experience. The song is very blues-inspired and is a rich song to listen to.

29. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here – ÷

This love song is inspirational, uplifting, and holds its own spot on what is easily Ed’s most energetic effort yet: ÷.

28. Nina – X

Nina is a pretty, piano-driven love song about teenage love and how he fell in love with Nina.

27. New Man – ÷

Ed always has a song on his albums where he criticizes the newest partner of his former lover. This iteration of the theme takes it in a more lighthearted direction and does a fun job of jabbing at the “new man”.

26. Happier – ÷

This is probably one of Sheeran’s most tragic and real songs. The song tells of Sheeran’s expressed tragic happiness for his ex-lover’s new found romance and profound happiness as he waits to be that happy with someone else as well.

25. Bibia Be Ye Ye – ÷

The perfect road trip song, this care-free diddy follows Sheeran as he traces his steps from last night’s drunken escapades including finding his wallet and keys. It’s a delightful song that is a must for any road trip.

24. Sing – X

This is another popular track from Sheeran’s second album that is about needing love from a specific girl. It’s a very fun song,

23. Lego House – +

The song that led most people to his music, Lego House details his want to fall in love and grow old with his love and how he wants to rebuild the relationship and keep going.

22. English Rose – X (Wembley Edition)

This is another road trip song that follows Ed as he travels Tennessee looking for his dreams while reminiscing about the love that he has waiting for him back in England. The acoustic jam is very upbeat and fun.

21. Make It Rain – X (Wembley Edition)

This one is one of the extremely rare examples of Sheeran building his song off of an electric guitar instead of an acoustic. The R&B/Gospel-style song is infectious and slow and evocative.

20. Autumn Leaves – +

This gentle treasure tales about falling in love during the fall and is, in my opinion, the definitive “autumn” song.

19. Touch and Go – X (Wembley Edition)

This song is fun and fast-paced and treat for the ears. Trust me and listen to it. You’ll thank me.

18. You Need Me, I Don’t Need You – +

The song that solidified Sheeran’s talent as a rapper, the song shows off Sheeran’s talents and vents his frustrations about industry people and critics.

17. Shape of You – ÷

Easily Sheeran’s best produced song, Shape of You is the flagship song of his third album. The song talks about lovers who meet in a bar and the relationship that follows. It’s a great song, but I don’t need to tell you that.

16. Afire Love – X

This song tells the sweet story of Sheeran’s grandfather and the struggles of old age. He also tells about what his grandfather said to his grandmother. It’s a beautiful song.

15. Dive – ÷

This is the other example of Sheeran building his song around an electric. The slow jam details Sheeran’s hesitations to “dive” into a new relationship.

14. Tenerife Sea – X

This acoustic ballad talks about falling in love and does it masterfully. It’s a beautiful song that is unmatched in Sheeran’s catalog, which features lots in the way of love songs.

13. Supermarket Flowers – ÷

This piano-driven song is a tragic one. Detailing the death of his grandmother and the mourning process that followed from the perspective of his mother. It’s by leaps and bounds the most heartbreaking song in his catalog.

12. What Do I Know?

This song talks about how music and love can save the world. It’s a very important and powerful song. There’s only one image that can sum up this song…11590722

11. I See Fire – X

This haunting song was written for 2013’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and appears in the end credits. Its depicts the story of Smaug’s attack on Rivendale, the scene that closes out the film.

10. The A Team – +

This ballad about a prostitute’s life is tragically beautiful. It’s the best one from his debut album.

9. Galway Girl – ÷

This catchy tune about a perfect night in Galway with the fiddler in an Irish band is perfect.

8. One – X

The opener for his second album is a great song about waiting for love from a specific person and how they are the only one for him. It’s the perfect start for an album.

7. Thinking Out Loud – X

Many have named this the definitive slow dancing love song. I would agree had a certain song not been released on ÷. Nevertheless, the grammy-winning song is a masterpiece.

6. Photograph – X

This beautiful acoustic ballad about lost love works surprisingly well for road trips.

5. Castle on the Hill – ÷

You know how a song can find you at the right time and right place? This is one of them for me. As a newly minted senior in high school, the lead single off of Sheeran’s third album, the song about nostalgia and childhood is perfect to me.

4. The Man – X

This rap song about betrayal and moving on is excellent, with some of the best production on a Sheeran song ever. Bravo!

3. Nancy Mulligan – ÷

Irish music is very fun, especially for Irish people such as myself. This song about how his grandparents got together is infectious and stellar. It’s always on rotation in my house.

2. All of the Stars – X (Wembley Edition)

This beautiful song about falling in love under the stars is gorgeous and sweet. It’s an underrated and under-appreciated gem in Sheeran’s catalog.

1. Perfect – ÷

The song is literally called perfect, need I say more? This love song is actually the best love song of all time and is absolute mesmerizing. It’s my favorite song in his catalog.

 

What do you think? What is your favorite Ed Sheeran song? Which artist should I make a  Top 40 for next? Let me know!

 

 

Anomaly: A Review

Anomaly: A Review

Introduction

This album came out in 2014 and earned Lecrae many nominations, including three Grammys in the categories of “Best Gospel Song,” “Best CCM Performance,” and “Best Rap Performance”. He won two of three, losing Rap to Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”. That doesn’t negate the brilliance of this rap album. As a performer, Lecrae ranks among the very best. His catalog is remarkable, including albums such as Rebel, Rehab, & Gravity and his Church Clothes mixtape trilogy. Anomaly proves to be a very different flavor for Lecrae and maybe his best album yet. The album features the least amount of other artists, resulting in a lot of time with Lecrae and his thoughts.

1. Outsiders

The opening track sets a style for the album’s production that sounds very sleek and professional. The song sets the tone in terms of subject matter and immediately tells listeners that Lecrae has somethings to say and he is unashamed of his thoughts. The song talks about how he never really fit in as a child and still doesn’t fit in to this day and that doesn’t bug him. As he says, Lecrae would rather be an outsider than sacrifice his integrity. The song gradually builds while maintaining an ominous tone, hyping listeners up for big things to come. It works extremely well as an intro song.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

2. Welcome to America

The song that many would assume to be a patriotic welcome song will pleasantly surprise. The song exposes stereotypes of America’s colored culture and pulls the layers back on the negative jobs and acts that inner citizens are forced to perform to survive. It tears down the fake portrait that we put up for ourselves and other nations. There is a verse as well that sheds a light on the mistreatment of veterans and soldiers of our nation as well. The final verse exposes the positive dreams of immigrants who want to live here and trying to pitch why they want to live there. Lecrae rides the beat well and the production is very solid.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

3. Say I Won’t (feat. Andy Mineo)

The third track is a change of tone from the previous two heavy songs and gives listeners something fun to jam to. Andy Mineo and Lecrae go crazy with fast verses and displays of lyricism common from Andy’s catalog. The beat is fun and these two play off each other with excellent chemistry. The song is an anthem for overcoming doubt and being proud of being different, piggybacking off of themes from “Outsiders”.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

4. Nuthin

Lecrae displays his talents as a hip-hop vocalist as well as a skilled rapper in this jam that is a must for any hype playlist. The song compares what Lecrae deems is important and what he talks about in contrast to the rest of the rap genre, which he claims don’t talk about anything of importance. The song has a fun beat and great vocals. This is a necessity for any DJ who thinks they make fire playlists.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

5. Fear

At this point, Lecrae slows things down a little bit to examine the virtue of bravery. He shines a light on his insecurity and private fears and he confesses his worries over the top of an impressive beat with another display of impressive vocals from Lecrae. This song is raw and real. He lyrically samples Psalm 21 for his intro and it works wonderfully. This song is brilliant and an under-appreciated gem in his catalog.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

6. Anomaly

This funky beat that takes cues from reggae and jazz creates a smooth and fun beat that is sure to make heads nod. Lecrae examines how “the system didn’t plan for this” and brings back his outcast theme that is prevalent throughout this album. The song is a wonderful song that really examines abnormality from the social norms.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

7. Timepiece

This song switches the album pacing and slows thing down in a good way. This song has a catchy hook and amazing production. The lyricism in this one song alone demonstrates Lecrae’s uniqueness and importance to the rap industry. The song deals with the concept of time and how we don’t have much. Time is a commodity that we are running out of.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

8. Dirty Water

At this point, we make an aggressive change with a hard beat and hard lyrics that highlight social fakes and the need for social change and faith. The song is really fun tom listen to and has very good production.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

9. Wish

The song talks about wishing and regrets and how to deal with change and things we wish we could change. The song is pretty and the sentiment is really touching. We’ve all been where Lecrae is at this point on the album and it really hits home. The choppy production is a stylistic choice that pays off excellently. This song is a great one that briefly highlights the theme of fleeting time again.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

10. Runners

This song is another fun jam, speeding things up again as Lecrae examines the theme of loyalty in relationships and how to avoid the temptation of lust and the struggles of cheating. The song wouldn’t nearly be as good without the comedically and realistic skits that start, bridge, and end the song. The bass-heavy production is some of the best of the album and backs Lecrae as he highlights his own temptations as he admits his faults and his own imperfections while advising from experience.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

11. All I Need Is You

The lead single from the album is the best from the project. The medium paced track features great vocals and solid lyricism from Lecrae. The song talks about how Lecrae’s relate ship with God is all he needs and lists all the things that he needs help with while comparing the relationship to being an anchor for his life. It’s an addictive song that really does affect the listener.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

12. Give In (feat. Crystal Nicole)

The production of this one is the best of the album. The song is based 99% off of acapella recordings done by Lecrae and Crystal. It sounds so good and the message of the track is really sweet. The song serves as a love song and lists all the ways he gives in to his love.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

13. Good, Bad, Ugly

The album slows down a bit here as things get real and personal again for Lecrae. The song detailing the story of how he was sexually abused when he was eight by his seventeen year old babysitter and a later story about how he and his girlfriend got an abortion and regretted it. The song also talks about how he found healing with the bad and ugly parts of his life and how people don’t always want to listen to or help with the ugly parts. He asks God to take his good, bad, and ugly parts. The song is really tragic and beautiful. It’s my personal favorite from the album.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

14. Broken (feat. Kari Jobe)

This song is also beautifully tragic and deals in similar themes on a bigger scale. Telling the story of how everyone is broken by sin and how we chase anything to feel better, when the answer is the grace and restoration we get when we accept Christ into our lives. The song features gorgeous vocals from Kari Jobe and wonderful metaphors backed by sleek production involving strings. He details his brokenness as including sexual abuse, fatherlessness, and insecurity. The song is a beautiful tribute to the hurting.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

15. Messengers (feat. for KING & COUNTRY)

The final song is a excellently produced call to action, encouraging Christians to spread the good news of The Bible and features the style of music and perfect vocals of for KING & COUNTRY. The wonderful arrangement of alternative and bolstering music just uplifts and inspires change in all areas of life. It’s an excellent closer to the best album of 2014 and Lecrae’s best work.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion:

Lecrae is a prolific rapper and songwriter. The production of this album is some of the best work done by any artist in any genre. The album inspires, encourages, and entertains to levels that is not seen much in any genre. Lecrae carries the bulk of the album on his back, balancing the themes and tones brilliantly and shares the spotlight wonderfully with acts that compliment his style perfectly. The album is a masterpiece of music and creative expression if their ever was one. The project reaches out and offers help to the hurting, inspires change for the revolutionaries and leaders, and sympathizes with the broken, highlighting his own struggles and past. This album is a necessity of not just rap music, but music in general.

Album Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

Billboard Awards 2017: My Picks

Billboard Awards 2017: My Picks

I enjoyed picking my own winners on the Oscars so much I decided to apply the same formula for music. These are the official nominations and I will not be predicting what I think will win, but my choice. Below in bold are my choices, by category, for the 2017 Billboard Awards.

Top Artist:

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  • Adele
  • Beyoncé
  • Justin Bieber
  • The Chainsmokers
  • Drake
  • Ariana Grande
  • Shawn Mendes
  • Rihanna
  • Twenty One Pilots
  • The Weeknd

Top New Artist:cover_0

  • Alessia Cara
  • Desiigner
  • Lil Uzi Vert
  • Lukas Graham
  • Zayn

Billboard Chart Achievement:lukebryan

  • Luke Bryan
  • Nicki Minaj
  • The Chainsmokers
  • The Weeknd
  • Twenty One Pilots

Top Male Artist:maxresdefault1

  • Justin Bieber
  • Drake
  • Future
  • Shawn Mendes
  • The Weeknd

Top Female Artist:ariana-grande-11-billboard-2014-650x430

  • Adele
  • Beyoncé
  • Ariana Grande
  • Rihanna
  • Sia

Top Duo/Group:the_chainsmokers_0-1366x800

  • The Chainsmokers
  • Coldplay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • Twenty One Pilots

Top Billboard 200 Artist:beyonce-super-bowl-50

  • Beyoncé
  • Drake
  • Prince
  • Twenty One Pilots
  • The Weeknd

Top Hot 100 Artist:160502_music_drake-6-crop-promo-xlarge2

  • The Chainsmokers
  • Drake
  • Rihanna
  • Twenty One Pilots
  • The Weeknd

Top Song Sales Artist:justin-timberlake-2013-justintimberlake-background-hd-wallpaper

  • The Chainsmokers
  • Drake
  • Prince
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Twenty One Pilots

Top Radio Songs Artist:justin_bieber

  • Justin Bieber
  • The Chainsmokers
  • Drake
  • Rihanna
  • Twenty One Pilots

Top Streaming Songs Artist:

  • The Chainsmokers
  • Desiigner
  • Drake
  • Rihanna
  • Twenty One Pilots

Top Social Artist:abc37b37b8b32ba0d3eb874cae44f005

  • Justin Bieber
  • BTS
  • Selena Gomez
  • Ariana Grande
  • Shawn Mendes

Top Touring Artist:promoted-media-optimized_5658eff54962e

  • Justin Bieber
  • Beyoncé
  • Coldplay
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Top R&B Artist:frank-ocean-new-orleans-jazz-fest-2013-billboard-1548

  • Beyoncé
  • Bruno Mars
  • Frank Ocean
  • Rihanna
  • The Weeknd

Top R&B Tour:lionel-richie

  • Beyoncé
  • Lionel Richie
  • Rihanna

Top Rap Artist:BALLY's 'Off the Grid' New York premiere

  • J. Cole
  • Desiigner
  • Drake
  • Future
  • Rae Sremmurd

Top Rap Tour:kanye-west-fan

  • Drake
  • Future
  • Kanye West

Top Country Artist:fgl_dirt1-e1406516652291-1940x1090

  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Blake Shelton
  • Keith Urban
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Jason Aldean

Top Country Tour:12dixiechicks-master768

  • Luke Bryan
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Dixie Chicks

Top Rock Artist:coldplay-songs-playlist-top-15-coldplay-songs-videos980-1479376597_980x457

  • Coldplay
  • The Lumineers
  • Metallica
  • Twenty One Pilots
  • X Ambassadors

Top Rock Tour:bruce-springsteen-performance-feb-2016-billboard-650

  • Coldplay
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Top Latin Artist:maluma-2015-red-carpet-billboard-1548

  • J Balvin
  • Juan Gabriel
  • Los Plebes Del Rancho De Ariel Camacho
  • Maluma
  • Nicky Jam

Top Dance/Electronic Artist:calvin-harris

  • The Chainsmokers
  • Calvin Harris
  • Major Lazer
  • DJ Snake
  • Lindsey Stirling

Top Christian Artist:cnafnyzusaahsea

  • Lauren Daigle
  • Hillsong Worship
  • Hillary Scott & the Family
  • Skillet
  • Chris Tomlin

Top Gospel Artist:d6afb4e72bcc823636751690b37e8e53

  • Jekalyn Carr
  • Kirk Franklin
  • Travis Greene
  • Tamela Mann
  • Hezekiah Walker

Top Billboard 200 Album: maxresdefault

  • Beyoncé, Lemonade
  • Drake, Views
  • Rihanna, Anti
  • Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface
  • The Weeknd, Starboy

Top Soundtrack/Cast Album:hamilton

  • Hamilton: An American Musical
  • Moana
  • Purple Rain
  • Suicide Squad: The Album
  • Trolls

Top R&B Album:rihanna-ft-belvoir-jpeg2-1280x960

  • Beyoncé, Lemonade
  • Bruno Mars, 24K Magic
  • Frank Ocean, Blonde
  • Rihanna, Anti
  • The Weeknd, Starboy

Top Rap Album:

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  • J. Cole, 4 Your Eyez Only
  • Drake, Views
  • Kevin Gates, Isla
  • DJ Khaled, Major Key
  • A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It From Here…Thank You For Your Service

Top Country Album:chris_stapleton2

  • Jason Aldean, They Don’t Know
  • Florida Georgia Line, Dig Your Roots
  • Blake Shelton, If I’m Honest
  • Chris Stapleton, Traveller
  • Keith Urban, Ripcord

Top Rock Album:thelumineers_1200x628

  • The Lumineers, Cleopatra
  • Metallica, Hardwired…To Self Destruct
  • Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Getaway
  • Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface

Top Latin Album:image13

  • J Balvin, Energia
  • CNCO, Primera Cita
  • Juan Gabriel, Los Duo 2
  • Juan Gabriel, Vestido De Etiqueta: Por Eduardo Magallanes 
  • Los Plebes del Rancho de Ariel Camacho, Recuerden Mi Estilo

Top Dance/Electronic Album:d75cfc6f23c09400c2f8f8cb82ee00f2

  • The Chainsmokers, Bouquet
  • The Chainsmokers, Collage
  • Flume, Skin
  • Kygo, Cloud Nine
  • Lindsey Stirling, Brave Enough

Top Christian Album:6468178

  • Casting Crowns, The Very Next Thing
  • Lauren Daigle, How Can It Be
  • Joey + Rory, Hymns
  • Hillary Scott & the Family, Love Remains
  • Skillet, Unleashed

Top Gospel Album:tamela-mann-2016

  • Tamela Mann, One Way
  • Kirk Franklin, Losing My Religion
  • Travis Greene, The Hill
  • Tasha Cobbs, One Place: Live
  • Hezekiah Walker, Better: Azusa – The Next Generation 2

Top Hot 100 Song:official-og-image

  • The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey, “Closer”
  • The Chainsmokers featuring Daya, “Don’t Let Me Down”
  • Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
  • Justin Timberlake, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”
  • Twenty One Pilots, “Heathens”

Top Selling Song:2madlwj

  • The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey, “Closer”
  • The Chainsmokers featuring Daya, “Don’t Let Me Down”
  • Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
  • Justin Timberlake, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”
  • Twenty One Pilots, “Heathens”

Top Radio Song:mobile-bg1-720

  • The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey, “Closer”
  • The Chainsmokers featuring Daya, “Don’t Let Me Down”
  • Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
  • Sia featuring Sean Paul, “Cheap Thrills”
  • Justin Timberlake, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”

Top Streaming Song (Audio):dram-2015-quentin-felder-billboard-650

  • The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey, “Closer”
  • Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
  • D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty, “Broccoli”
  • Rihanna, “Needed Me”
  • The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk, “Starboy”

Top Streaming Song (Video):05-desiigner-bb16-beat-opener-2016-billboard-crop-1548

  • The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey, “Closer”
  • Desiigner, “Panda”
  • Zay Hilfigerr & Zayion McCall, “JuJu On That Beat (TZ Anthem)”
  • Rae Sremmurd Featuring Gucci Mane, “Black Beatles”
  • Twenty One Pilots, “Heathens”

Top Collaboration:6360480141881070091188683523_the-weeknd-4

  • The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey, “Closer”
  • The Chainsmokers featuring Daya, “Don’t Let Me Down”
  • Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
  • Sia Featuring Sean Paul, “Cheap Thrills”
  • The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk, “Starboy”

Top R&B Song:20162f102f072fb02f8704cf736534405389fc931cb4efa0fd-68af2

  • Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
  • Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”
  • Rihanna, “Needed Me”
  • Rihanna Featuring Drake, “Work”
  • The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk, “Starboy”

Top R&B Collaboration:rs-pnd-01-e30e5a49-6caa-44ea-93c6-2c1a3ff962aa

  • Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
  • PARTYNEXTDOOR Featuring Drake, “Come And See Me”
  • Rihanna Featuring Drake, “Work”
  • The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk “I Feel It Coming”
  • The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk, “Starboy”

Top Rap Song:rs-migos-7c3562e7-2a2d-41e8-aa4b-2fab924e1ede

  • Desiigner, “Panda”
  • Drake, “Fake Love”
  • D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty, “Broccoli”
  • Migos Featuring Lil Uzi Vert, “Bad And Boujee”
  • Rae Sremmurd Featuring Gucci Mane, “Black Beatles”

Top Rap Collaboration:juju-youtube

  • D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty, “Broccoli”
  • Zay Hilfigerr & Zayion McCall, “JuJu On That Beat (TZ Anthem)”
  • Machine Gun Kelly & Camila Cabello, “Bad Things”
  • Migos Featuring Lil Uzi Vert, “Bad and Boujee”
  • Rae Sremmurd Featuring Gucci Mane, “Black Beatles”

Top Country Song:131024_ai13_ku_silk_034rev1

  • Kenny Chesney Featuring Pink, “Setting The World On Fire”
  • Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.”
  • Florida Georgia Line Featuring Tim McGraw, “May We All”
  • Little Big Town, “Better Man”
  • Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”

Top Country Collaboration:eric-church

  • Dierks Bentley Featuring Elle King, “Different For Girls”
  • Kenny Chesney Featuring Pink, “Setting The World On Fire”
  • Eric Church Featuring Rhiannon Giddens, “Kill A Word”
  • Florida Georgia Line Featuring Tim McGraw, “May We All”
  • Chris Young Featuring Vince Gill, “Sober Saturday Night”

Top Rock Song:maxresdefault1

  • Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa & Imagine Dragons with Logic & Ty Dolla $ign Featuring X Ambassadors, “Sucker For Pain”
  • Twenty One Pilots, “Heathens”
  • Twenty One Pilots, “Ride”
  • Twenty One Pilots, “Stressed Out”
  • X Ambassadors, “Unsteady”

Top Latin Song:enriqueiglesiaswallpaperblackbackgroundthesinger

  • Daddy Yankee, “Shaky Shaky”
  • Enrique Iglesias Featuring Wisin, “Duele El Corazon”
  • Nicky Jam, “Hasta El Amanecer”
  • Shakira Featuring Maluma, “Chantaje”
  • Carlos Vives & Shakira, “La Bicicleta”

Top Dance/Electronic Song:dj-snake-bw-billboard-1548

  • The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey, “Closer”
  • The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya, “Don’t Let Me Down”
  • Calvin Harris Featuring Rihanna, “This Is What You Came For”
  • Major Lazer Featuring Justin Bieber & MO, “Cold Water”
  • DJ Snake Featuring Justin Bieber, “Let Me Love You”

Top Christian Song:hillaryscottfam2097_hires_print-c9b1092a-79bd-4dbd-8b58-f9ef1e9f3c1f

  • Lauren Daigle, “Trust In You”
  • Hillary Scott & The Family, “Thy Will”
  • Skillet, “Feel Invincible”
  • Ryan Stevenson Featuring GabeReal, “Eye Of The Storm”
  • Zach Williams, “Chain Breaker”

Top Gospel Song:hezekiah-walker-2

  • Jekalyn Carr, “You’re Bigger”
  • Tasha Cobbs, Featuring Kierra Sheard “Put A Praise On It”
  • Kirk Franklin, “Wanna Be Happy??”
  • Travis Greene, “Made A Way”
  • Hezekiah Walker, “Better”

 

 

 

Nobody But Me: A Review

Nobody But Me: A Review

Michael Bublé released an album late last year that went very under the radar. Bublé’s self-produced ninth studio album dropped and it is a collection of underrated gems in Bublé’s catalog. Today I will be analyzing Nobody But Me track by track.

1. I Believe In You

This song is an inspirational acoustic piece that stirs the listener and reaffirms and reassures them. The song builds and touches all at once. The chorus is catchy and inspiring, making this song a promising start to a great album. The production is solid and very acoustic. I Believe In You is a gentle and stirring song that immediately makes you forget that this album is self-produced and surprised me. I was instantly sold on music producer Michael Bublé after this song.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

2. My Kind of Girl

Michael Bublé is a crooner. His style is one that has not been approached and attempted for ages before Bublé appeared on the scene in 2003. He has gracefully adapted, remade, and created songs that resurrected the dormant swing music genre years after the greats like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett had passed and retired. This song reaffirms his ability to control massive swing bands and croon into the hearts of listeners. This is Bublé at his most expert and comfortable. This fits right into his catalog with exceptional ease.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

3. Nobody But Me

The title track of the album removes the swing and returns to the pop style we were introduced to on his previous album To Be Loved. Using fun and upbeat pianos and percussion, Bublé sings about how he wants to be the only one to love his girl. The song also incorporates hip-hop influences and features an upbeat rap by Black Thought of The Roots who owns his sixteen bars. Bublé’s vocals are solid and strong here as well.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A+

4. On An Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo de Roma)

This English-Italian hybrid slows things down beautifully and demonstrates Bublé’s crooning vocals perfectly in a new arena. The playful mystique works perfectly with the strings reminiscent of a classic Bing Crosby love song. A very well produced song that is an absolute must for any date or love song playlist.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

5. Today Is Yesterday’s Tomorrow

This song adds harmonicas and bluegrass with his normal brass band and jazz-pop. This upbeat, inspirational tune features Bublé’s best-written song yet and debuts his ability to sudo-rap. This funky pop song is insanely catchy and fun and is a must for any playlist.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

6. The Very Thought of You

Slowing things back down is a great change of pace and allows the listener to catch their breath after the previous jamboree. Utilizing classic strings and harps once more to emulate a classic mystique of lounge music that was perpetuated mainly by Bing Crosby. The crooning vocals are accompanied by acoustic guitars, lounge pianos and jazz drums. It’s an easy listen and a great addition for any relaxation, date, or work playlist.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade A-

7. I Wanna Be Around

Bublé brings his big jazz band back for another lounge song in the vein of Sinatra’s love songs. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before from Bublé’s catalog. It fits right into his repertoire, but I wouldn’t expect to hear him perform this one on his next tour.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

8. Someday (feat. Meghan Trainor)

This song is very pretty and modern. The sudden change of pace and style is much welcomed and is sure to be another hit for the crooner. This duet with pop darling Meghan Trainor is perfect. Their vocals blend beautifully. Meghan is a great duetist, which we knew after her stellar duet with John Legend. The song about desired love is gorgeous and realistic. Utilizing a ukulele for the rhythm was a stroke of genius, working expertly into this bright, beautiful love song.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

9. My Baby Just Cares

We get another jazz lounge song that’s more upbeat and is another safe bet on Bublé’s part. With his swinging brass band and strings meshing together in a fun love song about how his lover cares only for him. Bublé is clearly at home and having fun on this track, presenting himself and his band like Frank Sinatra. A great jazz song that has a nice place on this album. It doesn’t really pop, but it’s perfect for Bublé and his album.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

10. This Love of Mine

Slowing things down again is good after the medium paced swinger we just heard. This string led song is pretty and brings back the 40s love song feel. Bublé carries himself with such bravado as Bennett and Sinatra, and even Elvis in his love songs. A beautiful track for Bublé to croon on. I wouldn’t expect to see this one on tour, however.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

11. Nobody But Me (Alternate w/ Trumpets Version)

This song isn’t enhanced or really affected in any significant way with this alternate version. The trumpet section gets an awkward solo in place of Black Thought’s rap, which I honestly prefer as the better choice than the screechy trumpets. It just sounds like the original version with some altered percussion and louder trumpets in some spots.

Track Rating: 4/10

Grade: C

12. Take You Away

This song is fun and poppy. The song utilizes road trip sounds and fun guitars. This song is a treat and worth the deluxe edition alone. The song features fun trumpets and is perfect for your road trip playlists. It’s a treat to listen to.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

13. God Only Knows

The original ending to the single version of the album, God Only Knows ends things on a somber note, like Ed Sheeran’s ÷. This slow and pretty song serves as a tragic breakup ballad. The song doesn’t even demonstrate Bublé’s crooning abilities, it just ends things sadly for the sake of sympathy. It’s not an impressive song. It’s not provocative. It builds slightly in the bridge, but ends up falling flat. The otherwise well-paced album ends, on both accounts, very flatly with this song and leaves the listener wanting more from Bublé.

Track Rating: 6/10

Grade: B-

Conclusion

Michael Bublé’s ninth studio album is a solid addition to his catalog. It’s certainly not his best album, but it features some gems that are sure to be classics on his resume. Where does Nobody But Me fall in the rankings of his albums? I’ll show you.

  1. Crazy Love
  2. It’s Time
  3. Christmas
  4. Call Me Irresponsible
  5. Nobody But Me
  6. To Be Loved
  7. Michael Bublé
  8. Come Fly With Me
  9. Totally Bublé