Headphones: Tragedy in the Music Community
The music world is a bittersweet business. While it so often gives us joy and pleasure, occasionally we are left with the inevitability that every now and then it’s community is shaken with loss. On Friday as we welcomed anticipated debut albums from highly touted new artists Kaleo and Jon Bellion, the world was shocked with the harrowing news that we have lost Christina Grimmie, who previously was a fan favorite on The Voice. While the shocking nature of this tragedy is hard to process for us all, it’s comforting to know that she will live on through the music she loved and the memories she made with family, friends and fans.
As previously mentioned, new music has been thriving this past week. Not only did that mean debut work from up and coming artists, but also new albums from radio mainstays like Nick Jonas, Wiz Khalifa, and Little Big Town. Nahko and the Medicine People, a indie favorite, also dropped new music with their sophomore album HOKA. This week, we check out some of the new music sampled above as we honor the passing of Christina Grimmie.
Album of the Week: John Bellion – The Human Condition: While on the opening track of The Human Condition Jon Bellion argues ‘nothing has changed’, his debut LP says quite the opposite. Bellion is no longer a feature artist, singing on hits like Zedd’s Beautiful Now or writing the chorus for Eminem’s The Monster. He has come into his own as singer, lyricist and producer. Bellion has found a home where he is comfortable jumping between letting his vocals ride on ballads like Maybe IDK or quickly dropping into bars reminiscent of G-Eazy, especially on tracks like New York Soul, Pt ii. His dual ability to sing and rap would more likely draw comparisons to popular duo Twenty-One Pilots. The most impressive thing about this album is the confidence and maturity Bellion displays despite it being his first commercial release. He lets go on high souring ballads unapologetically, and when he raps he does so with the bravado of an artist who’s been around the game for a while. This perhaps lends to the fact his idol is Kanye West, notorious for his cocky demeanor. On The Human Condition he shows that he has a wide range of talents, whether it’s in the studio producing or putting himself 'so out there' while experimenting as an artist. This album has a broad range, sampling elements from Alternative, Hip-Hop, and Pop. Bellion has a vision, and wholeheartedly believes in it. Be sure to check out The Human Condition, available on Apple Music and all other streaming services.
Pop: Nick Jonas – Bacon: On Bacon, Nick Jonas shows he can go deeper in the pop genre. On his previous album, Nick Jonas, the 23 year old from Texas showed an affinity for a choir backdrop. However on this track he not only flirts with hip-hop (Ty Dollar $ign is featured) but he thrives in it.
Hip/Hop: Future/ The Weeknd – Low Life: Earlier this year Kanye West declared Future the king of the club. This video only reasserts that. On Low Life he brings in Hip-Hop superstar The Weeknd to create one of the songs of the year. Together they give you a peek into life at the top of the trap game.
EDM: The Chainsmokers – Don’t Let Me Down: The Chainsmokers have come a long way since dropping 2013’s hit #SELFIE. They are now taking up headlining sets at festivals like Sunset Music Festival. On Don’t Let Me Down, the duo recruit the vocals of Daya, and have amassed over 50,000,000 views since dropping the single at the end of April.
Alternative: X Ambassadors – Unsteady: Still receiving radio play despite being released in 2015, Unsteady is a standout record from the X Amabassadors. As if the song itself wasn’t impressive enough, the video is very raw and emotional. It simultaneously depicts a couple on their first date and years down the road when they have a kid, showing the long term cost of drinking. It’ll strike home to some, while others will see the X Ambassadors depth on full display.
International: Kaleo - Way Down We Go: A personal favorite, the music video for Way Down We Go put Kaleo on the map. The video follows the band as they haul their gear inside of an inactive volcano, where the acoustics and visuals will mesmerize just about anyone. The video of this Icelandic group will just about guarantee itself as the best thing you’ll see all day.
Honorary: Christina Grimmie – March 12, 1994-June 11, 2016: On Friday night, after her opening gig at a concert in Orlando, FL, Christina Grimmie was fatally shot while engaging with fans during an autograph session. The 22-year-old was a former contestant on the popular TV show The Voice, finishing 3rd as a member of Team Adam. The gunman was 27-year old Kevin Loibl of St Petersburg Florida. Police believe that Loibl had drove to Orlando with the sole intent to shoot Grimmie, despite having never met her. Losses like these are hard to comprehend. There has been an outpour of support from fans and celebrities alike since this news of this tragedy broke. Grimmie’s coach Adam Levine posted this message shortly after: "I'm sad, shocked and confused. We love you so much Grimmie. We are all praying hard that you can pull through this ... this just isn't fair."