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Pink Sweat$ “Pink Planet” Album Review

Pink Planet offers listeners one safety net after the other. It’s hard to get angry listening to this album. Thankfully, it manages to charm way more than it offends, though its length may be a turnoff for casual listeners.

Pink Sweat$ (real name David Bowden) harnesses a unique superpower: kindness. From the onset of hearing his lyrics, we know what he’s about. There’s no unnecessary mystique or pontification. He’s a regular guy who wants people to be happy. It’s refreshing and completely needed in today’s musical landscape.

The Review

“Pink City” opens up the album with classic Gospel leanings a la organs and echoing background choirs. It’s an inspiring number with lyrics, “Yeah, it’s hard in the city. Where I’m from, mm. Tryna live, gotta make it. Make it out of the slum.”

“Heaven” is guaranteed to turn even the hardest grimace into a smile with its sugar-coated honesty. One of the standout tracks, Bowden soars when given traditional R&B production. Lyrics include, “It’s more than a thrill. I’m following what’s real. And don’t get mad when they don’t understand.”

Now to my favorite track from the album. Don’t be surprised if you hear me make a cover of “Paradise.” Pink Sweat$ shows he’s versatile when it comes to different musical styles. The acoustic track breezes through all the right places, and I still find myself pressing repeat on it constantly.

Notable lyrics include, “We fell apart too many times, yeah. But we always land back hеre some way, somehow. Whеn I close my eyes, I’m feelin’ so divine. It’s like paradise, paradise.”

“Magic” feels like “Heaven Part 2.” There’s nothing new or remarkable about it. Yes, it continues the album’s central theme, but it doesn’t feel…necessary?

Notable lyrics include, “And I don’t know what you did. But every time we touch, it feels like magic. It’s like magic, oh. I don’t know where we’re goin’. But every time, a cold sweat when we’re right here. When we’re right here, oh.”

We get just a wee bit naughty with “So Sweet” and its groovy guitar and lyrics, “Lay your head upon my shoulder, yeah. And tell mе all about your dreams. Don’t want no space between еach other. I wanna feel you all over me, yeah.”

My goodness! We’re already at third base, Bowden? Slow it down, my love! Otherwise, it’s another short but ultimately inoffensive track. I forgot it as quickly as I heard it.

“Chains” is probably my least favorite song, if only for its lyrics. Otherwise, I adore the melody and stripped back production. Still, I just can’t get behind these lyrics, “‘Cause baby, I’m a slave for you (Yeah, ayy). You got me wrapped up in your chains (Yeah).”

Yeah, you lost me there, buddy.

By the time we make it past the “Interlude,” the album starts to become a blur. “Beautiful Life” and “PINK MONEY” felt like the exact same song, and by the time “At My Worst” arrived I was struggling against a wave of sugar-induced nausea. Still, it’s probably the most quintessential Pink Sweat$ song on the album, so it makes sense.

The rest of the album offers more of the same, a standout being “Not Alright,” a The Weeknd-flavored banger that arrives too late. “Honesty” brings Pink Planet to a fully-realized nap, and I honestly feel conflicted on whether or not that’s a good thing.

Final Thoughts

Pink Planet’s mission is to delight and charm, and it accomplishes both in its first half. With a shorter track list, more variety in lyricism and production, and songs long enough to make a lasting impression, this could have been a much more solid debut.

Nevertheless, it leaves plenty of room to grow, and Pink Sweat$ showcases that he’s fully capable of personal and artistic growth. You don’t need to hear every song on this album to enjoy it, but I do recommend a listen.

Find the album below:

What did you think of the album? Sound off below!

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VanJess “Homegrown” EP Review

If ChloeXHalle had a younger set of sisters, it would be Nigerian R&B duo VanJess. The pair certainly started out in a similar fashion, though VanJess is in a musical lane of their own.

Enter their latest project, Homegrown. As the name suggests, thematically the album centers around the duo’s journey from home recordings to being signed to label RCA.

For such a short record, Homegrown is so full of depth you’ll feel satisfied by the end of it all. The duo still has room to grow, but the arena is theirs for the taking.

A fun note about the album artwork: VanJess used inspiration from 1970s Nigeria.

This is where we come from,” they said in a recent interview regarding the album’s title. “This is our essence, this is our soul, but we’re not going to exploit it. When we were coming up with our album artwork, we were inspired by the idea of what it would be like to be quarantined in the 1970s in Nigeria.

“Come Over” certainly does a fantastic job of conveying the latter theme. The song makes its entrance as an immaculate blending of 70s disco (especially the groovy bassline) and 90s vocal stylings. Specifically, I heard so much of T-Boz of TLC that I had to check and make sure they weren’t featured on the track.

We then slip into “Slow Down” with the “Darkest Night” by Lafayette Afro Rock Band sample, also famously used by Wreckx-N-Effect on “Rump Shaker.” The ladies are at their best here, their vocals in near-perfect sync throughout the entire song.

I particularly enjoyed the lyrics, “I like it when you’re simple. Treat me like a lady. Do things with a purpose. Do things with intention.” You better let these dudes know!

From there, we slide into “Roses,” which serves a more dancehall mood. It’s not their most sonically cohesive track, and much of their message gets a little muddled and difficult to understand at first listen.

However, I do appreciate the shift from “You better come correct” to “I can be vulnerable if you’re ready.”

The chorus, in particular, further illustrates this with, “You got to be sensitive with roses. Fragile but open if you want this. Never been lost in someone this fast. Gimme love, all of me is yours to take.”

“Curious” is an obvious standout and finds the duo in their “Trap&B” bag, musing about an encounter with two presumably shy men. This track is appropriately feature-heavy, with the duo joined by Grammy-nominated R&B singer GARREN and Hip Hop artist Jimi Tents. I’m a huge Destiny’s Child fan, so I immediately caught the “No, No, No” similarities.

Still, I wasn’t a huge fan of the lyrics on this one, which included: “You just my type. Definitely in my mind. Passed me by again. And you looking right. We thinking the same thing. So why you acting shy? It’d be better if youJust come up and say hi, hi, hi.”

“Dysfunctional” steeps us into a more groovy electronic vibe with the duo returning to the “respect my love and my time” theme. This was also a return to a more cohesive sound that was easy to digest.

The rejection of toxic love rings true with lyrics, “I don’t wanna play, yeah, no games. I’m just tryna stay, yeah, yeah, yeah. Don’t say “Hey” in the light, but you’ll pull up Wednesday night. It’s like this every time.”

“High & Dry” featuring KAYTRANADA gives us more of the same sonically with the Trap&B aesthetic. I’m not a fan of their vocal stylings on these kinds of tracks, but overall “High & Dry” pleases way more than it offends.

Lyrics such as, “Something in the water, that’s why you can’t wait to taste it. Tip-toe in the garden of my Nubian oasis,” offer clear picture of the duo’s desire for sexual liberation, which is a nice change of pace.

Oddly, though not my favorite track, it has the best lyrics on the entire album.

“Caught Up” sees a return to another groovy alternative wave, reminiscent of many early 80s hits.

With the lyrics, “Heavy breathing, as I’m sinking. Know what it means. In too deep and suffocating. You’ve captured me. I’m in misery without your company,” I notice a trend for VanJess to jump back and forth between similar ideas and themes.

It’s not too much of a distraction, but it does become a little redundant after a while. Still, it doesn’t completely deflate my enjoyment of this particular track.

“Boo Thang” sends us back to the early 2000s with its pop leanings. Devin Morrison’s vocal stylings are right at home with the production. I could instantly picture myself as a teen at the skating rink, waiting for my crush to cruise on by.

The lyrics, especially, remind me of my adolescence with, “I think about you in the morning. I think about when I’m yawning. They think I’m phony, all of your homies. Tell you I’m playing but they don’t even know me, uh.”

Lastly, we arrive at “Part II” with “Come Over Again.” We get a much more slowed-down, baby-making rendition this time around. Once again, it’s trap heavy, but this is the first instance where I feel everything fits perfectly. It’s a great finisher to wrap everything up neatly.

Listen to the full project below:

Final Thoughts

VanJess shows incredible depth and promise as an R&B act. Few seasoned artists offer as much potential as they do, which is highlighted on Homegrown.

Though it has its fair share of lyrical missteps and strange sonic quirks, overall Homegrown serves its purpose. It proves VanJess has plenty of potential.

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Megan Thee Stallion “Good News” Review

Megan Thee Stallion’s album Good News has arrived, and problematic men need not apply.

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for everyone’s favorite Houstonian, but we won’t cover all of that in this post. One, there’s too much to go over. Two, you’re probably already up to speed anyway.

Instead, I want to offer an objective point of view with regards to my album review, one that isn’t clouded by the shenanigans proceeding it. Curious to know my thoughts? I’d hope so since you’re already here. Keep scrolling for more.

I’m Always Here for Dragging Arrogant, Trash Men

Let’s start on the high points. Our girl wastes no time galloping up and down the backs of trash rappers and the clout chasers who support them on the opening track, “Shots Fired.” For so long, I’ve wanted more female artists to call out the male-identified fuckery that dominates hip hop.

It was refreshing to hear her directly address the drama between herself and Tory Lanez, even though everyone’s still talking in circles about wHaT rEaLlY hApPeNeD at this point.

And from here on, the stans are going to drag me for all eternity.

The Filler Disappoints…And Honestly Makes No Sense

I’m going to be honest. Most of the tracks with featured artists sound like outdated filler tracks from early 2000s rap albums. They offer nothing of substance to the record except having the names attached to them.

In fact, the only track that truly sticks out is perhaps “Freaky Girls” with SZA, but it’s hard to go wrong with an SZA feature. Perhaps, after a few listens, they’ll begin to click, but as it stands I’m not impressed.

The Artists & Tracks Seem to Collide With Each Other

Meg has a very distinct flow that, unlike other artists, doesn’t mesh well with certain types of instrumentals. Part of being a rapper is recognizing when your flow isn’t marrying the beat. It’s what separates the pros from the amateurs.

We know Meg can slay it down on a beat when she has the proper setup. There was no reason for the delivery to come across as rushed and thrown together as it did on the majority of the album.

Ultimately a Disappointment

I honestly wasn’t expecting much from Hot Girl Meg, but I wasn’t expecting the bar to be set so low either. For an artist with so much potential, Good News should have been a much stronger effort than what we ended up with.

Hopefully, the sophomore outing will feature more cohesion, less noise, and more compatibility between the artist and the music. Notably, her fans and most of social media seem to like it, so my opinion won’t matter much anyway. Perhaps, that is the “good news.”

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David Tribble Interview: Talks Faith, Voice Auditions, and More!

Unapologetic. That’s a word that comes to mind when it comes to David Tribble’s unrelenting devotion to his faith. The common denominator behind his many talents, it’s no surprise that it’s shaped nearly every stage of his life, figuratively and literally.

From auditioning to be on The Voice to becoming a worship leader in Euless, TX, Tribble has plenty of interesting chunks of life to sing about. In case you missed it, you can read my recent review of his album, Thrownhere.

Curious to know more? Get into my conversation with him below!

Let’s talk about faith. How does your faith shape your music (How you write songs, your themes, the stories in your music, etc)?

Well first of all I’m not ashamed of my faith and I’m actually gonna quote some verses this time for reference because what I learn from the bible is very important to my music and for me as a person to continue my relationship with my creator, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as he “works out what he is working in”  Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
And to be real honest I don’t want my music to be labeled as Christian music and haven’t ever sat down trying to write a Christian song.  I do however have trust in my actions as long as they are paired with my faith and that is the theme and story behind my music.  You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. James 2:22

When did you fall in love with making music?

I was in high school, a senior I think.  My step father had an old Toyota Acoustic guitar laying around the house and so I picked it up one day and found an old booklet “How to play guitar”, I taught myself a few chords that day and soon after wrote my first song, something about a heart smiling or something cheesy like that.  I wrote it on a piece of ruled notebook paper with a blue pen, with plenty of scratch marks all through it.  I think that was they time when I fell in love with rhyming and phrasing and the guitar bridged the gap between my voice and the pen.

When was the definitive moment you knew you wanted to sing? Did your faith play a role in this?

I know when I was a kid in church choir, that was not it!   I did get to go to New York and sing so that was cool, but I didn’t really get it back then.  However when I was in college and first getting into writing and playing, sometimes even between classes on my bottom bunk, it happened when I entered a talent contest at a local coffee shop there and played one song that I remember called the “The Senorita Song”  I wrote it in college and yes it was also cheesy, literally comparing women to tacos, needless to say I was a real charmer.   And even though I was very nervous I still sang and played the song, and cherished the moment and, though I didn’t know it at the time, I’m a moment guy (Mr. Moment as I call it) and that is what is so inviting about singing and melodies and finding harmonies that are all driven by the emotion and the moment which is ever changing within your time on stage.

Was there ever a moment when you doubted yourself? Have you ever felt lost while pursuing your dreams?

We all doubt and that is what makes us human.  You just have to get used to overcoming that doubt because it will creep in unannounced.  I never stopped pursuing my dreams and playing music and writing songs.

Was there ever a point in your life, creatively, where you were challenged to push past your limits? What was that moment?

I auditioned for The Voice tv show, you know the one.  It was back in 2013 season 6.  I made audition in Austin and was chosen to go to LA for the next one.  Yes is was totally different, unlike Austin it was me and the guitar and that was comfortable but in LA they chose the song for you and luckily I got to sing “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers.  No guitar just vocals and remembering the lyrics, which is not my thing, my wife, who doesn’t sing is great at it, but I did remember and sing the song well and made it to the blind auditions.

How do you stay rooted and calm?

Breathe, I haven’t done much of it, but as a slow learner I’m finding that allows good things to your body as a whole.  Praying also is something I need to do more of and would like to say I do it well and often but I struggle separating from “the moment” for a simple and calm prayer here and there.  When I do remember these two things before I perform songs for people it always helps calm me down and give my best.

Do you meditate?

I take naps.

Do you perform for a church? If so, where?

I am the worship leader at Life Connection Church in Euless Tx.  often called Useless so I’ve recently found out.

What was your most exciting performance? Most challenging?

I still haven’t opened for Citizen Cope or David Ramirez yet but when I do…but seriously I don’t recall exciting performances but ones that I will remember the most:  Playing for my wife for our wedding was one of them, but most challenging and exciting would have to be the Voice Audition in LA in front of the producers.

What were some of your “creative roadblocks” if any? How did you overcome them?

I’ve never ran into many songwriting road blocks but mine would have to be more design and marketing aspects like cover art and logos for instance.  I overcome them buy making choices that I don’t love in the end but its temporary and it’s a process of brand and development in the independent artist world.

Favorite song you’ve ever written?

I would have to say it’s a toss up between “Bittersweet” and “Wife and Daughter.”  They both were recorded and produced so differently.

How do you inspire people?

Through my music and the way I treat people.  It is a huge honor to have chance to inspire.  As a former school teacher, I was around middle school kids to inspire and that was a bit challenging for sure.  Music inspires all of us so I want to make good music that hits the mark to inspire and encourage.  The world is a tough place and we all take it head on.  Good or bad we need to do our part.

What’s something people don’t know about you that’s hiding in plain sight?

I taught and coached middle school for 14 years.

How big a role has having a family played in your creative process?

Very big and significant role yes, even more now than at the start.

Explain the concept of “Thrown.” It’s the title of one of the songs from the album of the same name. As a whole, what does this album represent to you? What should it represent to others?

Ok, I’m about to get churchy on you…The word Thrown is paired with the idea of a true Throne, considering the picture of an old beat up chair on the cover.  There are 3 pillars to it:  Being thrown is a sense of disarray, sin and chaos, which in faith is made right and overcome by Gods mercy, love and peace.  God has chosen us to join him to sit on the throne of Righteousness with him and If not for His grace and Jesus on the cross, our lives and throne to sit upon would be old and tattered like the one on the cover, really it would be worse than that.

You’re forced to give up a cartoon from your childhood. Which one do you pick and why?

I would have to say GI Joe!!  I had the action figures and cool vehicles and me and my friends would make up our own GI Joe battles in the living room or outside.  Even watched the show with my boy scout troop!

You’re forced to give up one of your senses? Which one do you pick and why? How would losing that sense influence the way you experience music?

Smell: I do love to smell but I don’t figure it would affect music for me.  Not really food either, but would be a lot of gross taste testing.   Plus I have horrible eye sight so If I want to be blind I can just take out my contacts.

What’s your next move? Performing anywhere soon? Another project on the way?

I’m performing at some new places around the area, getting to know more booking agents and work through the circle of artists which has grown a lot even in the last couple of months.  I am playing in Austin Tx. in November for the first time at Lonesome Dove so that will be a fun Tues night!

Also, I have a song called “Fine Wine” written about being saved and the process it takes and the journey of getting to a place of beauty and value.  This song has represented me and wife’s recent struggle with growing our family and decision to adopt a baby, and a few of the lyrics ‘soul been saved” have been used for our fundraising shirts and events as we continue through the process in the coming months.  So I’m happy to say it will be my next single, co produced by Matt Mcgaugh (my brother in law) and Tanner Landry from Fort Worth Sound in Fort Worth Tx. and it will be available soon.

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David Tribble “Thrown” Review

Sometimes, we have to find the royalty within ourselves, a task David Tribble knows can elude us. Luckily, Thrown won’t just try to inspire you to find it. Its mission is to reveal you in the process.

The title Thrown is filled with double-meaning. It’s meant to invoke the feeling of being “thrown” into disarray while doubling as a word play on “throne,” represented in the title image. As an artist who balances his faith with his music, the musical content strives to find the perfect equilibrium between the two. For the most part, it’s charming.

Production-wise, Thrown isn’t a challenging record to take in. Most tracks feature only an acoustic guitar with Tribble’s non-threatening vocals to lead the way. “Feathers,” the first track on the album, gently seeps into our spirit with its Sunday devotional-style lyrics “I won’t grow weary. I won’t grow thin, and I fly like the eagle flies.” Right away, you’re aware of what you’re in for. What follows is more of the same.

“Wife and Daughter” dives a bit more into the storytelling angle as Tribble slowly takes his time to allow the scenes of the song to play out. “Headed down to Texas, west on the interstate, ended up on my front door knocking with his head. He was holding a picture of my wife and daughter, carried the cross of my Lord and savior.”

Soon, we’re lead to the title track, “Thrown.” Fittingly, it encapsulates the true meaning of the album as a whole.

“I’m down here on this basement floor. All I wanted was a glance and nothing more. But now I’m crawling in the dark looking for a light to bring me home. Cuz everything else’s been thrown.”

“Ready to Go Then” puts an echo-y acoustic spin on a very familiar subject: heartbreak. One of the standout tracks, “Ready to Go Then” captures the lingering, free-falling feeling of watching someone you love walk out of your life.  “I don’t want to let to you go, but I know that you are ready to go then.”

“Bible on Tap” eventually brings everything full circle with a more obvious approach to merging Tribble’s religious background into the forefront.

“What if the Bible was on tap, and we all started drinking, drinking it down, catching a buzz on what it teaches about love and hope and forgiving our enemies?”

Where Thrown succeeds is its ability to appeal to the casual listener as well as the religiously disciplined. There are songs dedicated to the Christian faith, but there are also tunes that are appropriate for any occasion. Tribble’s latest work has a catchy duality factor to it, both welcoming and heartbreaking. Strangely enough, it fits together competently.

Check out more from David Tribble here!