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Category: Album Review

Kelleigh Bannen’s Debut Album ‘Favorite Colors’ Was Worth the Wait

Editors note: if you don’t like reading long reviews about every song on an album, just go listen to the album and form your own opinions! If you want to know more about the inspiration behind the songs, keep reading!

It’s finally here! Country artist Kelleigh Bannen has released her debut album Favorite Colors after much anticipation! Usually when people say that phrase, the anticipation has maybe been building for a year or two, but for fans of Bannen, who first released her debut single “Sorry on the Rocks” in 2012, it has been a seven year anticipation!

Thankfully, Bannen has been able to release some EPs on top of her singles over the years, which has curbed the hunger for a full length album. However, fans have finally had that hunger satisfied with the release of Favorite Colors. There are fourteen ear-worm worthy tracks on the album that were all co-written by Bannen.

The album dropped on 10/11/19 and required several listens before a proper review could be written. The thing with anticipated albums, and any album really by an artist who means so much to the listener, is that the reader who is unfamiliar with the work really needs an honest review. That requires reflection and not just an article that gets whipped up to be one of the first reviews. It took seven years for Bannen to put out an album, the least I could do is take the proper time to consume the music, reflect and offer up as much of an unbiased opinion as possible.

A personal favorite track off the album is track 11 “Haters.” When Bannen revealed it was written during the beginning of her career when she released, “Famous,” it made sense. For some reason I feel like I knew this song existed and now it has finally been able to be brought to light. “Famous” is also a favorite previous release of Bannen’s, so I’m truly thankful this song found a home on this album. It’s lyrics still ring true today. I know in the beginning of her career, Bannen had trouble reading some of the comments people would leave on social media, especially on YouTube. She has since decided to not check her YouTube comments, but you can still find some witty replies on other social channels like Instagram.

Did you really take the time out of your day
To rant about some things somebody didn’t even say
I guess you’re really not that busy anyway yeah
You’re pretty good at throwing little sticks and stones
And yeah you got the guts when you hide behind your phone
L-O-L it doesn’t make you less alone yeah, yeah

Do me a favor
Sign it off
Yeah see you later
Ain’t you got something better to do
Than sitting on your hashtags
Stalking talking trash yeah
What’d I ever do to you
All you haters

Those lyrics can be true to anyone, which makes the song universal and timeless.

The album opens with “Damn, I Still Love You,” which only briefly mentions the subject as looking good in a suit and tie. The rest of the lyrics can fit either gender and those feelings of wanting to move on but somehow not being able to.

Hey old friend how ya been
Almost didn’t recognize ya
Dressed up in that suit and tie yeah
Guess you’re all grown up
Me I’m still chasing down a dream
Keeps running away from me
Yeah some things never change

Damn I still love you
Even though I don’t want to
Wish I could help myself
But I can’t

“Deluxe” came with its own music video ahead of the album’s release and talks about love that’s a little extra. There’s a previous article about “Deluxe you can read below but to recap what was said then:

“Deluxe” has versatile melodies that can be played during a night out, to a lover, while getting ready, or even on repeat in the car if you can’t get enough. It’s everything a love song should be without feeling overdone. Share this one with a friend or listen while you’re missing that special someone.

“I just loved the idea for this song, about being a love with a little extra, and still being very relatable to so many people. I had the title for a while and finally was able to write and record it. I’m excited to be able to share it with my fans.”

– Kelleigh Bannen

“Boys Don’t Cry” is a unique take on how males react to a breakup. The premise is basically stop checking your phone and wondering if a guy is crying over you because that’s not how (most) men process things. Instead of sitting at home, eating a pint of ice cream, “boys don’t cry, they just get high.” It’s definitely a catchy song that will have you feeling slightly better about how your last relationship ended. Some things are beyond your control and instead of obsessing over them, it’s best to realize that men are men, they process things differently, they think differently and that’s probably why you broke up in the first place.

There’s a previous article that goes along with this song too!

“Boys Don’t Cry” is a cross between a breakup anthem and a letter to my younger self. At a certain point, you just have to decide to move on. If he’s not spending his time thinking about you, don’t waste another second of your life thinking about him. This song is about that, and it’s a lighthearted way to encourage your friends to get up, get it and start moving on,”

Kelleigh Bannen

“Diamonds” comes next and was the final song released before the album dropped. The music video was a little steamy and featured Bannen’s first real on-screen romance. A line plays off The Beatle’s hit “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” In it Bannen casts off the need for drugs and insists that diamonds are the way she gets stoned (way up, like Lucy in the sky). It’s definitely a fun and catchy song, which helps keep the record light-hearted and playful.

“Your Favorite Colors” is a track that is already hitting close to home for some fans. A recent encounter had fan Amanda be reminded of a friend who passed two days after she saw Bannen performing this song. She asked Bannen to play the song during a Facebook live session and remembered it being about not knowing where love goes when it’s gone.

In the track, Bannen is reminded of a significant person in her life and with each memory a color is linked, be it the coffee black, the jeans blue, or the baseball diamond green. She shared with The Boot:

“The song is about a long goodbye, essentially, and realizing that you knew everything about somebody, and the only thing you didn’t know about them is why your relationship didn’t work and where it’ll end. So that’s heavy, but it’s one of my favorite songs on the record.”

The wonderful part about this song is that even though it was reminiscent of a seemingly romantic relationship, it’s also vague enough to be applied to any kind of relationship, whether it be a friendship, a family member. It doesn’t have to be about a break up, but just losing a person, the way it sparked memories for Amanda and the loss of a friend.

“The Joneses” is an upbeat and quirky song about the famous line “keeping up with the Joneses.” In it she sings about how they (The Joneses) keep their doors locked, but she keeps her fridge stocked with Blue Ribbon and good living! Sorry folks, she’s “too busy living in the moment, to keep up with The Joneses.”

“The Joneses” was previously released as a three song EP and made history to be played simultaneously on SIRIUS-XM

“Suit” is a song about that glow of a new relationship and instantly imagining your future with them. Singing about marriage can be special, endearing, heartbreaking and emotional. “Suit” takes a different approach with it’s witty lyrics about only being “official a few weeks.”

You could ask my daddy’s permission
Or we could just ask for forgiveness
I’ll get the get dress baby you get the witness
But let’s not wait another minute

“Faith in You” is a very meaningful song to Bannen, as she has discovered the people in her life who lift her up when she’s struggling. It also serves as a love letter to fans in the sense that she wants them to know someone has faith in them. In a recent campaign that coincided with the album release, a limited amount of fans received hand written lyrics for this song.

“It’s (“Faith in You”) is really about the people you put your faith in when you’re in the middle of life’s uncertainty. When the things you turn to let you down, who do you believe in? Especially in the music business, there are so many dead ends — so many times when you wonder, ‘Is this when we call it?’ or ‘Is it over?’ You try to keep trying to fight for the thing you set out to do, but it’s the people that make the difference. Who you’re doing it with, and who’s waiting for you when you get home, who can pick you up when you feel defeated. It’s about the people you love. It’s also about the journey (life, a dream, whatever) and how that journey is really sacred when you’re doing it with the people you love.”

Kelleigh Bannen for The Boot

There are some more haunting songs on the album that add to the depth and many “colors” of the album. We’ll refer to these emotions as blue. “Sleeping Alone” definitely hits those heartbreaking tones, despite Bannen asking you not to shed a tear for her. It also has a strength in it’s haunting versus as she sings about realizing that despite the recent end of the relationship, it had really been over for a long time.

I got used to you not being in my head
Just like I got used to you not being in my bed
So
Don’t shed a tear for me I’ll be alright
I finally woke up and opened my eyes
Even on the nights you were there by my side
I’ve been sleeping alone for a long long time

“John Who” was one of the three previously released tracks on The Joneses EP and is an interesting song because of it’s complexity. During the repeating phrase “John Who” the listener feels empowered as they sing along, but it also has a sort of melancholy to it. Bannen sings about wanting a man that no longer makes her think of her ex.

I need a don’t look back kiss that stops me in my tracks
Someone that makes me say, anytime I hear your name

John who, John who, John who

“Time Machine” was recently performed as part of Bannen’s TV debut on The Today Show where she shared “I guess I’ve just been thinking a lot about how our stories don’t unfold the way we think they are going to, or on the timeline. Sometimes, that just makes you that much more thankful for the opportunity.” The song, in a sense, parallels with “Your Favorite Colors,” only instead of talking about the colors that represent memories, the memories themselves are remembered. That happens so often when we go to a place that takes us back to a date we had there, or how certain smells can remind us of different people. As Bannen says “there’s all kinds of time machines.”

The third and final song of the trio of songs released in the earlier EP is “Happy Birthday.” While the song title suggests happier times, the song reflects on more somber moments of remembering someone on their birthday, even though they are no longer a part of your life. Wondering things like whether or not they got to sleep in or their grandmother sent them a card with $20 in it. Despite the relationship moving on, you can’t seem to forget that person and the memories you shared. It has definitely been a song many have related to over the years. Birthdays aren’t always happy occasions. They can also be a reminder of those we have lost, which makes this songs melancholy tone all too relatable.

The final song on the album, “Long Shadow” is another blue color moment. It not only has a haunting melody, but lyrics to go along with it. When you just can’t seem to outrun the memory of someone, no matter how far you get from them. You could be in different countries, but somehow they show up in your thoughts. Bannen has a way of evoking emotions through her voice and her song writing.

You cast a long shadow
Even the highway can’t outrun
Somehow you’re always standing
Between me and the sun
No matter how far
You follow my heart

  • TRACKLISTING
  • 1. “Damn, I Still Love You” (Kelleigh Bannen, Will Bowen, Scott Stepakoff)
  • 2. “Deluxe” (Bannen and Danielle Blakey 
  • 3. “Boys Don’t Cry” (Bannen, Todd Clark, Jason Saenz)
  • 4. “Diamonds” (Bannen, Stepakoff)
  • 5 “Your Favorite Colors” (Bannen, Bowen)
  • 6 “The Joneses” (Bannen, Clark, Travis Wood)
  • 7 “Suit” (Bannen, Claire Douglas, Dallas Wilson)
  • 8 “Faith In You” (Bannen, Clark, Sean Van Vleet)
  • 9“Sleeping Alone” (Bannen, Bowen)
  • 10 “John Who” (Bannen, Bowen, Christopher Rafetto)
  • 11 “Haters” (Bannen, Jennifer Hanson, Jason Lehning)
  • 12 “Time Machine” (Bannen, Mark Trussell)
  • 13 “Happy Birthday” (Bannen, Claire Douglas, Wilson)
  • 14 “Long Shadow” (Bannen, Bowen, Tia Sillers)
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Thompson Square Celebrates ‘Masterpiece’ Album Release With Fans at CMA Fest!

It’s been over five years since GRAMMY-nominated Country duo THOMPSON SQUARE have release new music! It has been worth the wait! The duo just released their new album on June 1 called Masterpiece.

Thompson Square’s previous albums have had big ballads such as “Glass” on Thompson Square and “If I Didn’t Have You” on Just Feels Good which reached #1 at Country Radio. Masterpiece might not have that big ballad, but fans will get that same sense of connection from “Breakers.” There are the roll down your window songs to tracks like “Good Day” and “Stuck In My Head.” Of course the love songs that Thompson Square have become known for as they continue to showcase their writing and vocal abilities.

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Shawna and Keifer Thompson have had a busy media week surrounding the release of their album, followed by a busy weekend at CMA Fest where they were able to have an album release/fan appreciation party for their fans! They played the entire album as fans enjoyed food and afterwards got to talk with each and every one present! Keifer’s parents were also in attendance which made it that much more special!

T2 were also featured as special guests on today’s edition of CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan and CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan, having spent a day visiting with patients, performing new songs and being interviewed at the Seacrest Studios at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

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Seacrest Studios

MASTERPIECE Track Listing:

1. “Masterpiece” (Keifer Thompson)
2. “Up in Smoke” (Brad Warren, Brett Warren, Keifer Thompson, Shawna Thompson)
3. “Millionaires” (Marv Green, Catt Gravitt, Courtney Cole)
4. “Stupid Girls Stupid Boys” (Ben Caver, Sara Haze, AJ Pruis, Laura Veltz)
5. “Let’s Do Something Stupid” (Jason Lehning, Keifer Thompson)
6. “Stuck in My Head” (Brad Warren, Brett Warren, Keifer Thompson, Shawna Thompson)
7. “Good Day” (Erik Belz, Frank Rogers, Keifer Thompson, Shawna Thompson)
8. “I Know This Guy” (Mike Fiorentino, Keifer Thompson)
9. “A Love Like This” (Cary Barlowe, Keifer Thompson)
10. “Make It Rain” (Emily Weisband, Marv Green, Keifer Thompson)
11. “Breakers” (Marti Dodson, Patrick Droney, Keifer Thompson)

MASTERPIECE  REVIEW

 

  1. “Masterpiece” is the title track of the album and rightfully so. Keifer wrote this song by himself, about the legacy he would leave behind. Before having his son Cooper, he always thought he would leave behind a great music career, big house, fancy car… and then his son was born and everything changed. His legacy, his masterpiece, is his son. It’s a beautiful song, that is also Shawna’s favorite off the album and moved her to tears. Keifer was especially impressed by this since she is a tough critic on songs. He played it for her one morning while she was still pregnant. It’s definitely a favorite, if not the favorite of the songs on the album. It’s not only a beautiful song, but it has really amazing metaphors that build imagery and show how truly meaningful and important a child truly is. Although the song was inspired by their son, it can be applied to anyone, which makes it a true masterpiece

Shakespeare sure knew how to write them / Words that would live through our time / That Eiffel Tower’s still standing / It’s built to be one of a kind / Da Vinci’s got his Mona Lisa / And Beethoven’s got his symphonies / But you’re my masterpiece.

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2. “Up In Smoke” is a song T2 has been performing since their last tour and looks incredibly cool with all the special effects. It’s a song that was inspired by Keifer’s ex-girlfriend.

The use of repetition allows the excitement to build as they begin to play with fire!

I keep coming, coming back / I keep coming, coming back / I keep coming back for more / Playing with fire / and the flames getting higher /  I’m going up in smoke.

Shawna’s angelic voice makes you feel every note as she sings “Firrrrrrrreeeeeee”

 

3. “Millionaires” is one of two tracks that the duo didn’t have a hand in writing and one they enjoy playing live because of its uptempo beat. It’s one of Shawna’s favorite songs on the album and a fun departure. The lyrics talk about how rich they would be if they could turn their love into money, which would definitely be great for artists in the music business as many can relate to not having much money in the bank while they chase their dreams.

We got no money in the bank
No gas in the tank
No jingle in my jang
Baby don’t you think that we could…

Take our love, turn it into money
We’d be rolling in the dough, let me tell you honey
We’d be millionaires

4. “Stupid Girls Stupid Boys” is the other song the duo didn’t have a hand in writing, but a song you can really jam and sing along to. It’s a song that fans will relate to with lyrics like:

Shout out to the stupid girls baby, screw must of come loose kind of crazies. I don’t mean to be mean but I don’t think they knew what they were losing. Every time I’m looking at you, I can’t believe there was somebody somewhere that had you and gave you back. It’s all love and adoration, I got mad appreciation for the stupid girls.

5. “Let’s Do Something Stupid” is a song the duo has also been playing on their acoustic tour. They slow things down as Keifer explained at a show, that it was about the time he and Shawna first began their relationship. Keifer had been dating another girl on and off and decided to end things as he and Shawna did something stupid, all those years ago and started something magical. Here they are 19 years later! It’s a sweet song that helps you get a sense of where they came from. There are probably many out there that can relate to taking a risk and doing something they might regret, but hey it just might turn out to be the best thing they ever did!

It might be wrong but it might be right
Guess we’ll find out in the morning
Let’s do something stupid

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6. “Stuck In My Head” seems like it would be a really radio friendly song if it was able to get that kind of exposure. Maybe it’s because the song really does get stuck in your head? It’s not only a song with catchy lyrics, but also with the kind of production that has a little bit of everything, that makes everything about it make you feel happy inside.

Stuck in my head like a song, gotta sing along
Sounds so good, can’t turn it off
Your melody, is haunting me
And I just can’t forget
You’re stuck in my head

7. “Good Day” is a song the duo wrote while on a writing retreat where life was really rough on the beach drinking coconut rum. 😉 It even sounds tropical!

Life ain’t gonna get no better than this
So when the sun comes up
let’s do it again, just like this ’cause

Today is a good day

8. “I Know This Guy” is one of our favorites on the album. It just has that true Thompson Square sound, the way their voices blend into each other, really turns the song into the steamy romance it’s meant to be. When they sing the “whoa, whoa whoa” all our insides melt and it’s what true love should be like. It’s a song that encompasses who Thompson Square is, cuz at the end of the day, who would they be without each other?

Worships the ground that she walks on
Yeah he’s her moon, her stars, her sun
He knows, she knows, he’d die for her
And she needs him so damn much it hurts

Whoa, everytime her fingertips touch me
Whoa, it’s hard to hold back and harder to breathe
She’s got me right where I want me
And it’s only her that I need
In this big, old, crazy, messed up world
I know this guy, I know this girl

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9. “A Love Like This” is a song that already has over 1 million streams on Spotify! One that also mentions their son “Cooper” while Shawna was pregnant with him. It’s truly their story and makes you feel happy and warm inside knowing that despite everything else in this life, they have a wonderful love with each other and their son!

We said forever and I’ll change the name
Who would’ve thought we could love anything
More than this love, more than this life
But now there’s a little heartbeat inside

It was a long shot kiss
It was a last call risk, yeah
That’s how it all happened
That’s how it all started

10. “Make It Rain” has been in the duo’s setlist on live shows for the last couple of years and has been a fan favorite. It kind of plays off millionaire in a sense, that instead of their love being turned into money, it’s kisses they can spend on one another. They just want to love each other, and after all isn’t that how it should be?

We may never be rich
But you and me don’t need to be
When you’re lovin’ like this
When you’re lovin’ like this

I wanna spend these kisses like money
Till we’re so broke it ain’t funny
I wanna spend these kisses like money, money
Yeah

Let’s make it rain yeah

11. The album ends with the song “Breakers” which is a song that brings Shawna to tears as she performs it live. Keifer told RollingStone it’s a song that chronicles “the worst thing that has happened in their life.” It’s a song about being hurt by the ones you love the most. It makes us wonder if it’s about some of the ones they were close to in the music industry that championed them and then ended up leaving. It’s a hard song not only to perform but to listen to, knowing that pain is so real.

Although the song is personal, it’s one that applies to so many situations. Whether it be a family member, friend, relationship, co-worker. It can apply to so many which makes the emotions that more real and honest as you can picture the person/people who have hurt you.

They say you hurt the ones you love the most
Well I must be lucky you must really love me most
I guess I’ll never understand why you can’t be happy
If you know I’m happy no
Loving you is putting my head in the fire
Hoping that it won’t burn this time
Or the next time or the next time

Some people are leavers
Some people are stayers
Some people run when it gets too tough
Some people are braver
You’re supposed to love me
Oh but I can’t make it
I’m getting tired of giving all I got to a taker
Some people are fixers
But some people are breakers

Watch Thompson Square introduce “Masterpiece” and “A Love Like This” on FOX & FRIENDS, plus catch “Good Day” on After the Show Show here.

Download or stream MASTERPIECE in its entirety here.

PHOTO GALLERY – THOMPSON SQAURE’S FAN CLUB PARTY

 

Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ Is The Gift That Keeps Giving

It’s finally here! Taylor Swift’s 6th studio album Reputation is officially out into the universe and it’s the fastest album to go #1 on itunes in just 6 minutes! It sold over 1.2 million copies in its first week of sales!  With Swift’s last album 1989, she became the only artist to have three copies sell 1 million the first week. N*Sync, Backstreet Boys and Eminem each have 2 albums to reach this milestone. Now, Swift furthers that gap with 4 albums!

In an age where streaming music seems to be all anyone ever wants to do, Swift continues to prove that given the right music, fans will still go out and purchase albums. For as much of a bad reputation as she gets, it’s pretty remarkable that she’s the only one to continuously put out these kinds of numbers. It proves that controversy doesn’t sell. It might earn you clicks on the web, but it doesn’t build up a loyal fan base that fully supports.

You know how when someone posts something about Taylor Swift and everyone seems to respond with “nobody cares?” but in fact, they do care, because she’s still the best-selling artist of modern time. It’s true that negativity overshadows the positive. That’s why one bad thing can seemingly erase all of the 100 good things. So as much as people want to pretend that nobody else cares about Taylor Swift, the sales suggest otherwise. Haters gonna hate, Swift is gonna sell sell sell sell sell.

In this piece, we won’t get too heavy into analyzing the meaning behind every song, but want to give an over all feeling of the album and thoughts about each track! So let’s start the review of Reputation, an album that truly deserves all the success it is getting. Swift has spent the last couple of years writing and preparing for this album. If she had released an album last year, it wouldn’t have this kind of content. She wasn’t in the happy and content place she is in now. Reputation is Swift’s first great love album, filled with passion, romance and even scandal!

 

The cover of Reputation is important to note because it showcases the overall theme of the album, that there are two sides to every story. Just as Swift prologues in the album leaflet, which, might I add is the most powerful think piece I have read in years. Swift at her core is a writer, and not just a good one, not a bubble gum pop one, but a literary, Shakespearean and Jane Austen one.

Swift chose not to do press for this album and instead meet as many fans as she possibly could. She chose to give her time to those who support and admire her instead of tear her down with every opportunity they get. People purposely twist things around just to make her look bad, which is baffling because she is the kindest human being. But therein lies the problem, doesn’t it? No one could be that good, or that kind. No one could be that beautiful and successful and build their own empire. The world doesn’t want to see Taylor Swift succeed because they can’t admit that a person like her really does exist.

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Her prologue is so powerful and nothing should be left out. In Swift’s words, she tells you:

“We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them they have chosen to show us. We know our friend in a certain light , but we don’t know them the way their lover does. Just the way their lover will never know them the same way that you do as their friend. Their mother knows them differently than their roommate, who knows them differently than their colleague. Their secret admirer looks at them and sees and elaborate sense of brilliant color and dimension and spirit and pricelessness. And yet, a stranger will pass that same person and see a faceless member of the crowd, nothing more. We may hear rumors about a person and believe those things to be sure. We may one day meet that person and feel foolish for believing baseless gossip.

This is the first generation that will be able to look back on their entire life story documented in pictures on the internet, and together we will all discover the after-effects of that.

Ultimately, we post photos online to curate what strangers think of us. But then we wake up, look in the mirror at our faces and see the cracks and scars and blemishes, and cringe. We hope someday we’ll meet someone who will see that same morning face and instead see their future, their partner, their forever. Someone who will still choose us even when they see all the sides of the story, all the angles of the kaleidoscope that is you.

The point being, despite our need to simplify and generalize absolutely everyone and everything tin this life, humans are intrinsically impossible to simplify. We are never just good or just bad. We are mosaics of our worse selves and our best selves, our deepest secrets and our favorite stories to tell at a dinner party, existing somewhere between our well-lit profile photo and our drivers license shot. We are all a mixture of selfishness and generosity, loyalty and self-preservation, pragmatism and impulsiveness.

I’ve been in the public eye since I was 15 years old. On the beautiful, lovely side of that, I’ve been so lucky to make music for a living and look out into crowds of loving, vibrant people. On the other side of the coin, my mistake have been sed against me, my heartbreaks have been used as entertainment, and my songwriting has been trivialized as ‘oversharing.’

When this album comes out, gossip blogs will scour the lyrics for the meant they can attribute to each song, as if the inspiration for music is as simple and basic as a paternity test. There will be slideshows of photos backing up each incorrect theory, because it’s 2017 and if you didn’t see a picture of it, it couldn’t have happened right?

Let me say it again, louder for those in the back…

We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them they have chosen to show us.

There will be no further explanation

There will just be reputation.”

WOW. Talk about powerful and honestly eye-opening. I hope every media outlet reads those words and feels remorse for their part in bringing her down. For taking her poetic and artistic lyrics and turning them into a headline about an incorrect theory they’ve chosen to believe about someone they haven’t even bothered to get to know.

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Reputation is more than just an album, it’s advice, it’s hope, it’s courage to stick up for yourself and bravery to do what you feel in your heart is right. So listen to each song as it should be listened to, for its content and meaning, rather than the latest gossip.

Track 1: …Ready For It

“Baby let the games begin” Swift sings on the opening track. She has a great balance of satire and hopes and dreams in the lead off song that gives us a taste of what the album will be about. She clears her throat and begins her story, setting the record straight and escaping life in the public eye so that she can be truly happy.

This is made apparent when she sings the lines: Me, I was a robber first time that he saw me / Stealing hearts and running off and never saying sorry / But if I’m a thief, then he can join the heist / And we’ll move to an island-and / And he can be my jailer, Burton to this Taylor / Every lover known in comparison is a failure / I forget their names now, I’m so very tame now / Never be the same now, now

Here she mixes her pubic persona into her desire of escaping that and being left alone to be happy and free. Swift told fans about the opening song:

“With this album the first song is a song called Ready For It – that’s already out. Ready For It kind of introduces a metaphor that you may hear more of throughout the rest of the album. It’s like this crime and punishment metaphor where it talks about robbers and thieves and heists and all that. I found that to be a really interesting metaphor but twisted in different ways throughout the album. The way it’s represented in Ready For It is finding your partner in crime and it’s like, “Oh my God! We’re the same! We’re the same! This is great!“ You will hear that kind of theme carried out throughout the rest of the record but not exactly the same.”

See the article below for the full analysis of the song!

No One Was Ready For Taylor Swift’s New Song “…Ready For It?”

Track 2: End Game ft Ed Sheehan and Future

Big reputation / Ooh you and me we got / big reputations / and you heard about me / Ooh I got some big enemies.

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(Source)

Although Swift didn’t need a collaboration on the album, it is fun to get a little taste of something different and which might help reach other listeners who might not have given the album a chance.

Again Swift writes about what others may have heard about her and how that has effected her personal life and relationships with others. This is a fun song to sing, especially with the different artists that appear on it, but it’s also Swift covering up pain in a flashy way. She sings: Reputation proceeds me / They told you I’m crazy / I swear I don’t love the drama / It loves me. Later she sings I wanna be your end game / I wanna be your first string / I wanna be your A team (which happens to also be a single by Ed Sheeran!)

So despite all this drama and negative press in her life, she just wants love to work out. Don’t we all?

Also you won’t ever be able to listen to “End Game” the same after watching this hilarious video from Ingrid Michaelson

Track 3: I Did Something Bad

If you haven’t heard Taylor’s story about how she had a dream about this particular sound in the song, you have to listen to it. She asked her producers of the song, which instrument made that sound. They told her, no such instrument exists but they could record her making it and then pitch it to sound like one! It’s basically the best thing ever and makes the song even more enjoyable.

Pay attention to the words in this song: If a man talks shit / Then I owe him nothing / I don’t regret it one bit / ‘Cause he had it coming

They’re burning all the witches / Even if you aren’t one / The got their pitchforks and proof / Their receipts and reasons … So light me up

Taylor Swift is taking back her name. She’s taking ownership for the songs she’s written and there’s no reason for her to feel bad about that, especially when someone is going to dismiss you so easily and take credit for something you’ve worked on. She’s also empowering others to not stand for being treated that way. Don’t take shit from no one, light it up!

Track 4: Don’t Blame Me

Here Swift starts to take a mix of her reputation and her true love story and is able to mix a slower song into the fit and feel of the entire album with its unique production. It is totally a song that gives you a ‘holier than thou’ experience!

Don’t blame me / Love made me crazy / If it doesn’t, you ain’t doing it right / Lord save me, my drug is my baby / I’ll be using for the rest of my life

Swift still continues her theme of mixing her reputation with truths as she sings ‘I been breaking hearts a long time / And toying with them older guys / Just playthings for me to use / Something happened for the first time / In the darkest little paradise / Shaking, pacing I just need you… They say ‘she’s gone too far this … time’

Track 5: Delicate

Track 5 has always been sort of legendary amongst Swift fans for being the most heart-wrenching/emotional song on the album. Swift herself described this track before playing it for fans:

“This is a song called Delicate… This is a song where the idea of reputation is definitely something that I play on for the entire album but when the album started off it’s much more bombastic. “I don’t care what you say about me! I don’t care say about my reputation. Blah.” But, like, then it hits this point on track 5 where it’s like what happens when you meet someone who you really want in your life and then you start worrying about what they’ve heard before they met you? You start to wonder like, “Could something fake, like your reputation, effect something real like someone getting to know you?” You start to wonder how it all matters. This is the first point of vulnerability in the record where you’re like, “Oh, maybe this does actually matter a little bit” and questioning the reality and the perception of a reputation and how much weight it actually has. So this is called Delicate.”

In “Delicate” Swift sings of a new love and how in the beginning stages it’s fragile (delicate) and she wonders if the things she says and does is moving too fast for a new relationship. She sings Is it cool that I said all that? / Is it chill that you’re in my hear? / ‘Cause I know that it’s delicate / Is it cool that I said all that? Is it too soon to do this yet?  … My reputation’s never been worse so / You must like me for me

Swift still manages to write about extremely personal experiences but remains relatable to so many who have those same feelings when beginning a new relationship.

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Track 6: Look What You Made Me Do

The lead of single of Reputation, LWYMMD certainly created the buzz it was meant to. Although initially received with mixed reactions, it grows on you with each listen until you cannot get the words out of your head and find yourself singing it all day long. The song actually started out as a poem, as Swift told fans:

“It actually started with a poem that I wrote about my feelings. It’s basically about realizing that you couldn’t trust certain people but realizing you appreciate the people you can trust. Realizing that you just can’t let everyone in but the ones you can let in you need to cherish.”

This song is again about specific situations, but it gives listeners that courage they need to not settle for the horrible things people put you through. It gives you encouragement that even though it doesn’t seem like justice is being served right now, it will eventually catch up to them.

Key lines: Another day another drama, drama / but not for me / Not for me / All I think about is karma 

Read below for a full analysis of the song!

Taylor Swift Isn’t Holding Back on New Single “Look What You Made Me Do” – Listen and Discuss!

Track 7: So It Goes…

Swift’s first sultry romance song on the album. She hints at new romance previously, but here she is, scratching his back and everything. This song is a little tricky because of the use of the line “You did a number on me / I did a number on you.” Normally that is seen in a negative light, to do a number on someone, but could it here be used as something positive? That the other person just had such a significant impact on them? That is Shifty Swifty, always leaving you guessing, being able to take her lyrics and apply them to different scenarios. A mastermind, an illusionist.

Getting caught up in a moment / Lipstick on your face / So it goes… / I’m yours to keep / And I’m yours to lose / You know I’m not a bad girl but / I do bad things with you

According to a secret sessioner, this is Mama Swift’s favorite song.

Track 8: Gorgeous

Fun fact, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds daughter, opens the track by saying “Gorgeous.” Definitely a top favorite on the album. It’s just so fun to sing, ask my almost three-year old – it’s her favorite!

Another song about the wonderful love Swift has in her life! It’s a fun song about wanting someone who isn’t yours yet and being so infuriated about how good-looking they are that it drives you crazy!

It also continues to show us that side of Swift of breaking boundaries and not caring about talking about more controversial things. She’s already talked about sex, and drinking, now being drunk and wanting someone else while still having a boyfriend! These are all things people go through and she breaks her “Good girl image” and shows us she’s just a normal person who goes through all these emotions that everyone else goes through.

Read below for the full write-up on the song!

Taylor Swift Wants You To Know Who Her New Song “Gorgeous” Is About!

Track 9: Getaway Car

Now the games are beginning! This is a song! It’s her way of talking about her previous relationships and their demise all in the same song. She uses the metaphor of a getaway car to describe how she needed an excuse to get out of her bad relationship, but how the next one was ultimately doomed because nothing good starts out that way. It’s so informative but so cleverly disguised. Her lyrical ability is really quite extraordinary.

I wanted to leave him / I needed a reason / X marks the spot / Where we fell apart / He poisoned the well / I was lying to myself / Knew it from the first old fashioned we were cursed / We never had a shotgun shot in the dark / You were driving the getaway car / We were flying / But we’d never get far / Don’t pretend it’s such a mystery / Think about the place where you first met me / Riding in a getaway car

Track 10: King Of My Heart

This is a very special song, as Swift herself describes it as each verse being a different phase of a relationship. It starts off in single hood, living life on your own, then suddenly someone is trying to call you ‘baby.’ Then there’s this exciting part of the relationship then suddenly in the chorus, they’re the one you’ve been waiting for, dreaming of….

Swift described the process of the song:

“I think it’s very interesting when people talk about their love stories. Like when you guys blog about, “me and my husband, me and my boyfriend” or just anyone talking about how they fell in love. There seem to be these very definitive phases. It doesn’t matter how long that phase lasts. There seems to be a moment where you know it transitioned to the next phase. People will be like, “Oh my God, we were friends for six years and there was this moment and we knew and then it changed. Then there was a moment and it got even deeper. Then there was a moment and we knew” or like “I saw this person and there was this moment and we knew.” Everyone has a different story with how they connect with someone else and what I find interesting is the moment where it switches. You always hope that switch is going to move forward and not backwards because it can happen either way. I always wanted to structure a song where each individual section of the song sounded like a move forward in the relationship but still being listenable. So I wanted the verse to seem like it’s own phase of a relationship, the pre-chorus to sound like it’s own phase of a relationship, and the chorus to sound like it’s own phase of a relationship. I wanted them to all have their own identity but seem like they were getting deeper and more fast paced as the song went on. So finally I was able to achieve that in a song.”

And all at once / You are the one I have been waiting for / King of my heart, body and soul / And all at once you’re all I want / I’ll never let you go / King of my heart, body and soul

Say you fancy me not fancy stuff / Baby all at once this is enough.

Definitely a favorite on the album!

Track 11: Dancing With Our Hands Tied

Swift is not holding back on this album, her bed has been turned into a secret oasis and she isn’t afraid to let everyone know! Swift again is able to incorporate different layers of her voice and beats to create a mix that perfectly allows a meaningful song to still melodically fit on an upbeat Pop album infused with R&B.

The thing about writing an album is, and Swift even says this about the final song, is that she gets ideas for songs, and lines that just stick out to her. Sometimes she goes through and picks out different lines from her notes. So while she could be writing with someone in mind, it doesn’t mean that everything applies. For instance, when we get to the final song, “New Year’s Day” Swift tells us that she has written the line about “Please don’t ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere” at least a year before. So while her beau might have inspired the rest of the lyrics, and just thinking about a future, it doesn’t mean that every line was originally inspired by them.

That being said, at the end of the day, Swift is a songwriter and she wanted to tell a story and sometimes (okay, most of the time) those stories have autobiographical content in them, but occasionally they take on a different shape, and that could be what’s happening here. Perhaps it was written about a past love, as it gives a sort of feel that maybe it’s no longer ongoing as “I had a bad feeling” is a line repeated throughout the song. She also says “I could’ve spent forever with my hands in your pocket…” alluding to the past. However, Swift could also be thinking of what it would be like to no longer be in the amazing relationship she is in now. Because that is human nature. You think the absolute worse, that this is too good to be true, something might mess it up. So is it a break up song, with a heart still wanting back what was lost? Or is it a song about a current relationship and the thought of everything going wrong in the end? We’ll never know, and that’s okay, because at the end of it all, it’s an amazing song and it doesn’t matter who was the inspiration for it, what matters is that others can find their own correlation. To find that love that lit you on fire after you had given up, that’s a love worth waiting for.

According to some secret sessioners, this is Papa Swift’s favorite song. Let’s not let him in on what kind of dancing is going on here. 😉

Track 12: Dress

oooh the song that supposedly makes Swift’s whole family leave the room when it plays! Could it be because of her “sex like pants?” Definitely a bit more bold and adventurous for Swift, but honestly you can’t help but love listening to this song. The way the sound goes silent when she sings “Say my name and everything just stops” to the seductive lines like “Only bought this dress so you could take it off.” Of course we then have the lines that say “All of this silence and patience / Pining and desperately waiting / My hand are shaking / From all this ah, ah, ah…ahh…”

Pretty tempted to make an instagram caption that says “Only bought this dress so you could take it off” but am I bold enough to post that on Facebook? haha

Swift spoke about this song saying:

“This is a song called dress where some lines I came up with a year before and then when I was writing the song I cherry picked and was like, “like that, like that, like that!” and I was really proud of the hook of this because it sounds like a pick up line. Yet it’s a love song about deep and tender feelings.”

Track 13: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Is every track gonna be the new favorite? This is definitely one that requires the volume to be even louder and one I sing to my toddler as she destroys yet another toy. Swift sings “This is why we can’t have nice things / Because you break them / I had to take them away”

This is one of those songs that Swift probably had quite a few people in mind when writing, people who have tried to expose her and take advantage of her. She lost friendships but she still has her real friends, her love and her family. She sings on the chorus: Here’s a toast to my real friends / They don’t care about the / He said she said / And here’s to my baby / He ain’t reading what they call me lately / And here’s to my mama / Had to listen to all this drama 

It really is a jam! Swift explained a bit of the song saying:

“It’s about when people take nice things for granted. Like friendship or like trusting people or being open or whatever. Letting people in on your life, trusting people, respect, those are all really nice things and so this is a song called this is why we can’t have nice things.”

The last two songs are more of how Swift describes she feels now. She told those in attendance at her secret session which was made available on iheartradio:

“The way I feel the album is as far as the storyline, it starts with getting out any kind of rebellion, anger, angst or whatever and then falling in love and realizing that you kind of settle into what your priorities are, your life changes but you welcome it because it’s something that matters to you. And this last part of the album feels like settling into where I am now. So it kinda started with where I was when I started making the album and ends with my emotional state now.”

Track 14: Call It What You Want

This is a pivotal song in the album because it’s basically Swift’s way of us letting us know everything that has happened over the last few years and where she is at now. With 1989 she was receiving praise and likable again, then one day it switched and hating her was cool again. She addresses that in the opening lines “My castle crumbled over night / I brought a knife to a gun fight / The took the crown but it’s alright / All the liars are calling me one / Nobody’s heard from me for months / I’m doing better than I ever was”

That of course all sounds sad, but the song turns happy as she is totally immune to all the negativity because of the positive people and special someone she is choosing to spend her time with. She’s happy and her happiness is all we really want, so this song also makes us happy! Check out the full analysis below:

Taylor Swift Finally Gets One Thing Right In New Song “Call It What You Want”

Track 15: New Year’s Day

We’ve reached our final song in the album and sadly there is no glitter on our floor. The takeaway from this song is in an idea Swift thought of while contemplating this idea of how excited everyone get’s about kissing someone on New Year’s Eve. She explains:

“I was thinking about the concept of New Year’s Eve and I was thinking about how we all really romanticized who you kiss at midnight. That is a romantic concept but I was thinking that an even more romantic concept in like a forever kind of way is who’s willing to deal with you on New Year’s Day and give you Advil and clean up the house. I think that states more of a permanence. So that was the basic inspiration behind the song. It includes two lines that I’d been saving up in my notes for a while that I’d always wanted to figure out the right place for. Those lines are, “Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you” and “Please don’t ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere.”

It’s really a romantic song with lines like: I want your midnights / But I’ll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year’s Day … I’ll be there if you’re the toast of the town, babe … Or if you strike out / And you’re crawling home

And that’s where Swift is at now. She’s as happy as ever. Dreaming about the future as she continues to stay out of the limelight and spend time with her friends, family and boyfriend, whom she’s been dating for over a year. All that time, and not a single picture of them has surfaced (unless you count ones where they are hiding behind umbrellas and you can’t see their faces).

This album gives so much to one person. It’s not just an album you listen to when you’re feeling one emotion. You can listen to it when you’re going through heartache, or when you’re really pissed off at someone or you’re falling in love. You can even enjoy it if you’re going through none of those things but just really enjoy genuine art! Swift took three years to deliver and deliver she did. It’s no wonder she’s one of the best-selling artists of today and the only artist to consistently put out #1 albums that move over a million units in one week.

Grab a copy for a friend, they’ll thank you later.

P.S. Don’t read the last page.

Glee Star, Noah Guthrie Releases New Album ‘The Valley’ – Listen

(Nashville, Tenn. – June 23, 2017) – Noah Guthrie, known for portraying Roderick Meeks on Fox’s hit TV show Glee, released his sophomore album, The Valley, today through The Orchard – Sony Music to all digital outlets globally as well as physically in North America and the U.K. The creation of The Valley was purely a “passion project” and, in turn, a direct result of Guthrie’s feverish fans and social media following who contributed more than the desired funding in order to bring this project into existence through Pledge Music.

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Art Credit: Matthew Fleming
Braving and unearthing every emotion, from solitude and loneliness to understanding and purpose, that is encumbered in “the valley,” Guthrie wrote or co-wrote every track on the record with songwriters such as Matthew Perryman Jones, Amy Stroup, Rhett Shull, Michelle Raitzin, and Caroline Brooks. Recording music together their whole lives, Guthrie recruited his brother, Ian Guthrie, to serve alongside him as the producer of the record, confessing,
“We are big believers that a song should be able to stand on its own—the simpler the arrangement, the better. I remember us staying up late into the night trying to sculpt and shape songs, adding melodies and instruments that didn’t quite fit to make the sound more interesting, almost always reverting back to what we had
before The simple takes were the ones that let the raw feeling of the song shine through the most. That’s what I hope you find in this record: Strong, compelling songs that make you feel something.”
Leading up to the album’s street date, Guthrie released three singles to accompany the record: “Pardon Me” in 2016, “Love You Now” in February 2017, and “I Would Die 4 U” in April 2017. Guthrie chose to cover Prince’s iconic dance track, “I Would Die 4 U” as a tribute to the late legend and the first anniversary of his death. Guthrie even went on to perform his rendition of the track on Hallmark’s Home and Family alongside guest Mayte Garcia, Prince’s ex-wife. Since the release of his newest single, “Love You Now,” in February 2017, Guthrie has been touring the United States and Europe in support of his sophomore album, and will be returning abroad to tour throughout Europe again this coming August 2017.
Making the most of CMA Music Festival in Nashville, Tenn., June 8-11, Guthrie met with fans and signed autographs at Fan Fair X, performed at Ty Herndon’s Concert for Love and Acceptance, and delivered a jaw-dropping acoustic performance at the Wildhorse Saloon, including in the set his most acclaimed cover of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.” About Noah Guthrie: Noah Guthrie rose to fame covering chart-topping hits on YouTube that eventually led to his pivotal role as Roderick Meeks on FOX’s hit TV show Glee on it’s sixth and final season. He received national attention with his blues-filled version of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It,” which to date has received over 25- million views, with total YouTube views racking up over 75 million.

Photos by Variety Beat
The South Carolina native grew up in a home filled with music, always singing around the house, Guthrie credits his father for teaching him to learn his true voice and hone his gift. At 14, he began writing his own songs, highlighting his richly textured voice that is capable of conveying the true emotion of a lyric. As a practiced musician on the bass, guitar, and trumpet, by the time he was 13 years old, everyone around him knew that he had an innate gift. Throughout his young career, Guthrie has already opened concerts for Ed Sheeran, Neon Trees, Ben Rector, Cobra Starship, Matisyahu, Matt Nathanson and Selena Gomez, and has performed on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars as well as NBC’s Today and Tonight Show.
Take a listen to The Valley

Interview: Sarah Darling Talks About Her New Album ‘Dream Country’

It has been a few years since Sarah Darling‘s last album, but she is now set to release her long overdue album, Dream Country, on February 10th. Darling has been in the country music scene for many years with multiple appearances at the famed Grand Ole Opry. Darling has released several albums, garnering over a half million downloads worldwide, with two #1 videos on CMT and GAC. Darling has opened for artists such as Carrie Underwood and Kacey Musgraves, among others.

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Dream Country takes listeners on a journey through aspirations, with songs about the stars, dreams and romance. Each track on the album blissfully describes an emotion or experience with Darling’s soothing voice, backed by a cinematic sound. Songs like Halley’s Comet has a very special undertone with comparisons to the free-spirited and awe-inspiring Halley’s Comet. The song takes you on a journey through the past, where Darling experiences her doubts and wonders where her life will take her. The lyrics describe Darling’s feelings and all the magical parts of life brought upon by gazing at Halley’s Comet.

Listen to Sarah Darling’s “Halley’s Comet”

Continuing with the dreamy theme of the stars, Starry Eyes, is a letter to your younger self with advice on how to deal with the struggles of life. The lyrics describe the sense of hope and light through the darkness of bad experiences. It is a life lesson to never give up on yourself and to keep on pushing through. Darling pleads for this younger self to “keep those Starry Eyes” and to always keep that twinkle in their eye, to become one of the brightest stars of the world.

Dream Country takes a step back from the modern country limelight with simple backing tracks and elegant guitar strums, piano, violin and various other instruments. The entire album plays like a symphony to one’s journey through all of life’s hardships and greatest treasures. Darling’s voice perfectly encompasses this overall tone of the album with each note enchanting the listener, leaving them in a dream-like state to fully take in each and every lyric. Overall, Dream Country, is a solid album that captures the spirit of dreamers everywhere and brings them on an unforgettable journey among the stars.

We had the chance to interview Darling about her latest release, check out the interview below!

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Variety Beat: How did you come up with the title, Dream Country?

 
Sarah Darling: While I was recording the record, I actually came up with the title.  I had a friend pop over to the studio to listen to the first cuts, and I remember him telling me it sounded country, cinematic.  Then the term “Dream Country” came out of my mouth and it stuck ever since.  It’s a world I’ve created.

VB: What are some of your inspirations behind the songs on this album? 
 
SD: I’m very much inspired by traveling to places and beauty.  A lot of the tunes on my album capture the wide open spaces which have always been close to my heart.  I grew up in small town Iowa, where I had lots of room to dream.  I think this subject floats through Dream Country quite a bit.  I almost feel like I’m a travel songwriter! 

VB: Typically, how are these songs written and what was it like working with different songwriters?
 
SD: Working with each songwriter is completely different every time.  I find that I write my best work with my close friends.  I think there’s an openness and honesty that pops out.   For example, I wrote the track “Montmartre” about my love affair with Paris with my best friend Jenn Bostic.   Writing with her is like a girls night out with wine but bonus, we write a song! My other favorite writing process was “Where Cowboys Ride.” I wrote it with Zach Runquist.  We both adore Wyoming, and literally wrote a song looking at images of golden fields and wide open skies.  It’s a mixed bag but that’s what’s amazing about being a songwriter. 

VB: How does this album differ than your past work?
 
SD: It’s a lot different from my past work I would say.  There was a lot more creative freedom and exploring while making this project. I had always dreamed about making a string heavy record and I did it! I wanted the tracks to tell a story to the listener.  I also experimented crossing over into other genres which was fun.  

VB: How has your musical influences or style changed with this new album?
 
SD: Not much has changed as far as influences go, but I almost feel like the pool just got bigger.  There’s a big appreciation for so many types of music.  I love seeing Chris Stapleton add his thing to country music! I love anyone who inspires me. 

VB: What separates this album apart from other albums that are currently out?
 
SD: I haven’t heard anything like it, and that’s great from my stand point. It’s country mixed with dreaminess with a dash of strings. I did me, and it happened to be different.  I think this is good advice for any artist.  Always be yourself in what you do. 

VB: What do you hope listeners take away from this album?
 
SD: I hope listeners dream a littler bigger and shine a little brighter.  It’s really encouraging and I hope everyone gets to experience that.  It was therapeutic for me when writing it! 

VB: What are some of your future plans? (Tour, radio, next single)
 
SD: I will be touring like crazy this year both in the US and UK which is fun.  My next single takes you to the West.  That’s my only hint! I also have some gorgeous videos I’ll be releasing all this year from my travels abroad.  Can’t wait. 
Dream Country is available Febraury 10, 2017. Pre-order here.
Tracklisting:
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