This week’s pick is a British artist named Lianne La Havas. Originating from London, her sound has everything British about it, from her accent to the melodies and arrangement, it is all-round quality. Her music reminds me of the time I spent living in the U.K., which might mean I’m partial to her sound… The authenticity that comes with this kind of music has no equal and is bound to move even the coldest-hearted individual.
Our Marketing Professor, David Loscos, played this video during class to highlight the importance of conveying emotions when marketing a product and to be entirely honest, I don’t think he could have picked any better.
Her songwriting skills are quite impressive, I’m particularly moved by the lyrical work. She builds hooks that are personal enough that you can relate to them, without getting too specific, which kind of allows to get lost in your own interpretation of what she has to say. And this oh-so-sensual tone she sings in just confuses the life out of me, in the best way possible. It’s like listening to someone you’ve always been emotionally attached to for the first time – confusing, I know.
This video depicts a confusing emotional encounter between two individuals, Lianne and this ‘Elusive’ man. There’s a sensual dimension to the whole picture that is emphasised by the expressive dancing, the physical contact between characters and the close-up shot of Lianne singing with someone’s hands cupping her face. There’s also something about her whole physical presence that is just so delicate, fragile and enticing. Some of the shots reveal the subtlest lisp that is barely audible when she sings but adds yet another element of sensuality to the Lianne character. I think I’m in love. And with over 800,000 views, I doubt I’m the only one.
Protest the Hero are one of my all time favourites when it comes to progressive rock/metal or even music in general. They’re technical when it comes to music, but they also writes with guts, which is a fine balance that too few bands know how to reach these days. They never fail to impress with epically technical and serious riffs that will leave any ‘metal’ guitarist astonished and excited with the urge to want to transcribe. These guys know how to shred-out and know most importantly to stay real, and not to take themselves too seriously. And as far as songwriting goes, this album entitled Scurrilous shows a huge leap in maturity. While they used to throw-in (sick) riffs after (sick) riffs, with odd-time signatures changes that wouldn’t necessarily be related, the Canadian quintet opted for a slightly more discreet style of complexity. Instead, they seem to focus more on re-orchestration of riffs and themes, and their songs seem to have more of a palpable structure to them as well.
This music video for Hair-Trigger was shot with the signature Protest The Hero touch of humour. These guys just don’t seem to give a care and remain down to earth despite all the success they have encountered through there music. Whether it’s through Luke Hoskin making out with an attractive gal whilst shredding along to the track, or Arif Mirabdolbaghi making out with a dog, or Rody Walker urinating against a tree whilst singing in duet with the feature artist Jadea Kelly, you clearly get the gist of what message Protest the Hero wants to get across.
While I’m not the biggest Deftones fan, actually I barely listen to any of their stuff, I must admit that this song grew on me. On the other hand, I am and always have
been a big progressive/alternative music fan but I’ve learnt to understand that not everyone’s ear is accustomed to such tonal qualities, tempo changes and harmonic changes. But this track definitely hits home. With a very simplistic but very efficient main riff, the ‘less is more’ type of approach works every single bit. And with layers of octave chords droning in the background, the tension just builds up to the point where the lyrics sing ‘tonight the stage is yours’ and a powerful riff full of drive comes in and grasps the listener. The modal change into the chorus is also great at releasing the tension and the low-end on the guitars just makes it really hard not to pull a jazz face of approval to. The soaring vocals full of reverb and delay make it all the more epic and work all too well to make this chorus as catchy as could be. It needs to be said that Rich Costey and Eric Isip did an absolutely phenomenal job at mixing the whole album, Koi No Yokan, Deftones’ seventh studio album. They have managed to squeeze out every little bit of guts and tonal qualities that the tracks had to offer.
Even though none of the members of the band appear or perform in the video, it’s got Deftones written all over it. Instead of having as corny of a concept as a band performing to their own song, or a cheesy storyline, they asked world-renowned professional skateboarder Jason Park to shoot a reel around night-time L.A. Other professional skater, Brett Novak shot the footage following Park around the city’s most infamous concrete landmarks and backdrops. He produced the music video with the goal in mind to convey the band members’ passion for skating. The video was premiered by RedBull.com and frontman Chino Moreno tells them in an article that “When we started this record cycle, we decided that we didn’t want to make any videos whatsoever. They’re not much fun to make and they usually turn out pretty corny. But this was an idea that we were interested in because we’re all very keen skateboarders and we like the idea of marrying one of our songs to someone as talented as Jason Park.” And even though the band members aren’t shown directly in the video, their presence can be pointed out on billboards in the background of Park’s skating.
In my opinion what truly makes the video is the level of creativity that Park displays around the streets. You see him landing sweet tricks that aren’t ‘in the books’ and it really shows that he’s having a good time. You can also hear the noises and clunks that the deck makes against the concrete when he lands tricks or power slides over sidewalks. You can also see Park bail out of tricks and have pretty big falls and that, is to me, what makes a decent skate edit. Novak also did a really good job at editing the video, using slow-motion and trick landings to emphasise upbeats and downbeats respectively. It gives the video a more artistic feel.
While this song is not the hit single of JT’s the 20/20 experience album, it definitely stands out as a quality track. It was written and produced by Timberlake, Timbaland, James Fauntleroy, and Jerome Harmon. It features audible content from Timbaland who lent his signature beat-making and beat-boxing skills for the creation of this track.
The instrumental strikes as quite sinister right from the start. It builds off an overdriven vocal sample, what sounds like a vacuous trumpet-like melodic line and a high pitched arpeggio. After a few bars they give into into a bass-heavy beat with clear-cut side stick hits and some of Timbaland’s infamous ad-libs and vocal scratch sounds. On the vocal front JT taps into both his lower and higher vocal ranges throughout and shows he is comfortable in either of the two, adding to the dramatic effect of the song. His arpeggiated backing vocals echo the layered soundscape created by Timbaland. This indubitably allows them to feed off one another as far as creative techniques and arrangement go.
With regards to the lyrical content, JT talks about this ‘Tunnel Vision’ he has for his love interest, describing his infatuation in almost voyeuristic terms. His writing echoes his previous works in some ways; lyrical themes from ‘Cry Me a River’ or ‘My Love’ appear throughout this track.
The suave grey texture of the video matches the sinister vibe of the track. JT shows off his sweet moves that he is already quite known for and uses the syncopated beats to the advantage of his choreography. The ‘cool’ factor of the video is Timbaland appearance – or more accurately his mouth – beat-boxing along to the song. The more controversial element of the song comes in then. Timberlake decided to venture in the nude-art territory when he decided to have topless women feature in this music video. Not only are these women topless, but he dances fully clothed alongside them via projector montage. The video had to be taken off Youtube a few hours after its release and re-submitted with a content warning page to filter the traffic to the video. Now this may not be unpleasant to the majority of the male population viewing this video, however it feels a bit ‘déja-vu’ to have a playboy-looking type artist dancing alongside topless models.
Robin Thicke and Pharrell used this concept over the summer to release the video for their song ‘Blurred Lines’. It feels like the video to their song acts more as a sales tool than anything else though. The women casted for the part – very attractive albeit – are more there for show it feels. Thicke played off of the summer vibe and used this as a marketing technique; the ladies are walking around, topless, and randomly-timed hashtag words flash up on the screen in the hopes of brainwashing the audience. This is where JT differentiates his approach. The models are not striking random poses like they’re part of the furniture, they’re supplely dancing with a more ‘artsy’ feel to it. Kaleidoscopic patterns are projected overtop of them all the while and lyrics appear on the backdrop in a blended and non-aggressive, non-promotional way. Once again, the male population watching the video might not be complaining. But unfortunately, because of the length of the track the concept loses impact a good minute or two before the video ends.
Tunnel Vision :
Executive Producer: Jeff Nicholas
Produced by Jonathan Craven and Nathan Scherrer
Directed by Jonathan Craven, Simon McLoughlin and Jeff Nicholas for The Uprising Creative
Director Of Photography: Sing Howe Yam
Editor: Jacqueline London