Tag: 2017

Billy Ellish – Don’t Smile at Me

ARTIST: Billy Ellish 220px-Billie_Eilish_-_Don't_Smile_at_Me

TITLE: Don’t Smile at Me

YEAR RELEASED: 2017

CHART ACTION: #14 US, #12 UK

SINGLES: Charting (they all were singles of some form): Ocean Eyes (#84 US, #72 UK), Bellyache (#103 US, #79 UK), Copycat (#112 UK), Idontwannabeyouanymore (#96 US, #78 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe – a lot of people streamed this

LINEUP: Billy Ellish, Finneas

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: EP that collected all of her early singles and recordings which act as a prelude and taster for her LP debut.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Billy Ellish didn’t just show up out of nowhere. Even though she’s young, in 2015 she was using Soundcloud to upload files – and “Ocean Eyes” became a hit on that service. It revealed a sophistication in melody and a production by her brother Finneas that made it hard to believe that she was just a teenager.

As the buzz happened, she and Finneas did more recordings and released them as singles or they were used for soundtracks. It’s rather impressive that she and her brother can conceive and release these tracks that are sophisticated and dark, and not necessarily custom made for the pop charts. She’s blazing her own trail which is refreshing.

This relatively short EP is a great intro to Ellish, if you have been under a rock this past year, and if you’re not, it shows that she and her brother were already making music that didn’t conform to pop’s barriers.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: As time went on, they added new singles to the very original EP release. You can do that with streaming.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, see above. And Japan, of course.

 GRADE A-: Even as early as 15, Ellish was creating her own brand of electropop.

Liam Gallagher – As You Were

ARTIST: Liam Gallagher                             220px-Liam_Gallagher_-_As_You_Were

TITLE:  As You Were

YEAR RELEASED: 2017

CHART ACTION: #30 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Wall of Glass (#21 UK), Chinatown (#56 UK), For What It’s Worth (#33 UK), Greedy Soul (#56 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: This hasn’t penetrated the US market very much.

LINEUP: Liam Gallagher, Greg Kurstin, Dan Grech-Marguerat, Davey Badiuk, Dan McDougall, Mike Moore, Martin Slattery, and many others.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Oasis and Beady Eye frontman releases his first official solo album.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Teaming with producers Greg Kurstin and Dan Grech-Marguerat, Liam Gallagher’s first real solo effort hearkens back to the Oasis glory days, but doesn’t wallow itself in 90’s nostalgia.

Liam’s songs were always overshadowed by his brother’s tracks in Oasis (and I’m sure he’s sick of hearing about that), but we wrote or co-wrote 13 of the 15 tracks (from the deluxe edition) and songs like “Wall of Glass”, “Bold”, “Chinatown”, and “For What It’s Worth” are amongst the best anyone from the Oasis family has done in years.

Gallagher’s voice brings you back to the 90’s as well, but there’s a little more world weariness here and a lot more nuance than before. The production mixes the 90’s sound with a modern vibe. All in all, an album that exceeds expectations.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They were going to break up in 1997, but fans convinced them to stay the course. They are still together but haven’t released an album since 2013.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Kurstin won a Grammy for his work on the album.

 GRADE: A-: I really wasn’t expecting anything spectacular here, and I was pleasantly surprised.