Musicality – Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique, The Bird and the Bee, Priory, Emily West

Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique
Love Is Free
(Interscope)
The Swedish artist Robyn confuses and amazes me. Every album she releases is vastly different, though each is electronic-based and experimental. The last album I heard from her, Do It Again, featured Röyksopp and was very dark and gritty. I loved it, but it was the exact opposite of Love is Free. This one has far more pop and dance influences. It feels largely inspired by Latin music, which goes great with this electronic style. The lyrics can feel a little monotonous, but that’s typical of house music. Robyn gets away with using any style of electronica and she does it very well. I can’t wait to hear remixes. My favorites from this five-song mini album are “Lose Control” and “Tell You (Today).”
The Bird and the Bee
Recreational Love
(Rostrum)
This is indie rock with a little bit of pop, funk and soul. Although the music is subtle, the upbeat songs still have great catchy melodies. It’s easy listening, and the songs remind me of a walk in the sun on a perfect, 70-degree day. The song “Runaway,” which is used in the comedy movie Trainwreck, is great. Vocalist Inara George and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin have been making music together since 2005. Kurstin is a Grammy-nominated producer as well, who has worked with musical artists like Sia and Charli XCX. Although the Bird and the Bee has been around for a while, this is my first time listening to an album of theirs. I’ll be looking at their older projects soon, because these two make all-around amazing music. They are truly wonderful composers. My favorite songs are “Los Angeles” and “Doctor.”
Priory
Need To Know
(Warner/Expunged)
If you’re in the mood for something with pop-punk influence, the Oregon duo called Priory is stupidly fun, in a good way. Catchy tunes make these pop melodies extra-memorable, and I found myself instantly listening to the album again after finishing it. I was more than happy to hear their hit song “Put ’Em Up” because of its upfront pro-LGBT message, with lyrics like: “We’re hanging with the girls that look like boys tonight.” Priory’s vocalist, Brandon Rush, has a brother who’s gay and faced persecution while growing up in a conservative and religious family, so that makes it personal. Rush’s best friend, guitarist Kyle Sears, is the other half of Priory. Many of the songs carry an anthem-like quality. In “Weekend,” the subtle bridge leads up to the catchy vocal chorus that hooks you right in. Other good songs are “Paper Tiger,” “Mother Mary,” and “Friends & Demons.”
Emily West
All For You
(Portrait)
Since I haven’t been watching America’s Got Talent for a few seasons, this is my introduction to Emily West. The album contains mostly covers and features some of the songs she became famous for as a contestant on Season 9 of the show, including “Nights in White Satin” from Moody Blues and “Chandelier” by Sia. After hearing these songs, I can see why she became known for her versions of them on the show. At times, West’s voice sounds a bit like the powerful vocals of Lea Michele, particularly in the song “Without You,” by Usher and David Guetta. My favorites are “Chandelier,” “You Got It” and “Fallen.”

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