Sunday, March 29, 2015

Vocal Range and Profile: Kiesza

Vocal Range: E3 - A5 - F#6
Vocal Rating: B-
Vocal Type: Light Lyric Soprano (3 Octaves)
Recommended Listenings: No Enemiesz, Hideaway

Positives: Great connection between all ranges of the voice, creating great ease throughout ever register. A great mixed voice allows her to reach up to G#5 without any hints of strain, while the head voice is flawlessly connected to her chest voice and can ascend to F#6 without issue. The head voice is light and feminine. The lower register though under utilized and not extensive, does not seem to illustrate any technical issues. Solid breath control allows to her to perform dance routines and still hit G5's and G#5's without the pitch suffering (see Hideaway and No Enemiesz live). Good dynamic control (What is Love)

Negatives: A strange twang to her voice becomes apparent in some chest notes which can sound like tension, and vibrato isn't utilized very often.

G3 - G#5 - F#6
An E3 can be found in her performance of Take Me To Church in Berlin.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Vocal Range and Profile: Sia

Vocal Range: Bb2 - F#5 - C6 [Bb6]
Vocal Type: Light-Lyric Soprano [3 Octaves and 1 note]
Vocal Rating: C

Positives: Instantly identifiable voice, with a fast vibrato and original rasp contributing to this. Able to sing complex melisma with great agility (see the head voice riff in Elastic Heart). Her low notes are not hit by lowing the larynx and have a dark quality to them, though they are easily the weakest part of her range. The mid-range is strong, as well as chest voice notes up to C5. Her head voice is sweet and feminine. Her phrasing and tone are original and instantly identifiable.

Proficient with legato phrases. Her voice is able to adapt to different genres in the pop field, such as disco, pop/rock and EDM. Able to execute growls without strain.

Negatives: Upper chest voice belts (those past Eb5 usually) are horribly strained and pinched, and are never mixed, leading to cracks. Her voice cracks, though they appeal to some, show signs of vocal damage either due to substance abuse, poor vocal technique, or both. She also utilizes vocal fry very often, though this could also be seen as an emotive positive.

Her vocal range on 1000 Forms of Fear, Bb2-Bb6

Notable mention to oziroxxmisoxx on YouTube for a strong write-up on Sia's voice.

Track By Track Review: Madonna - Rebel Heart

Madonna's 13th studio album, Rebel Heart has arrived. How does it stack up compared to the rest of her discography? Let's take a look.

Living For Love - The opening number lays down the groundwork, but doesn't seem to life the album up very high. 6/10

Devil Pray - Typical Madge, pulling in some expected Christian references. The sleek chorus is an instant highlight, but the energy gets sucked out by a lonely acoustic guitar. 7.5/10

Ghosttown - "You're all that I can trust / Everyone ran away" Madonna croons on track No.3. Madonna sounds like she believes the song, to some extent. Like the first two songs, Ghosttown feels a bit factory pressed, with the stipulation that they're all missing something production-wise. 6/10

Unapologetic Bitch - Madonna tosses out the sleek and lackluster pop production for some reggae influence. This sounds far more genuine than the preceding tracks, which for Madonna might be a blessing or curse being the most genuine as a "bitch." Unfortunately, the song is still a bore. 5/10

Illuminati - "Everybody in this party's shining like illuminati," along with the very direct name addressing - BeyoncĂ©, Steve Jobs, Obama and Gaga for starts - help construct the first truly effective Rebel Heart track. The production is dark, Madge's delivery is stone cold, and Illuminati ultimately steals the show. Madonna actually sounds engaged. 8.5/10

Bitch I'm Madonna (feat. Nicki Minaj) - The secondy 'bitchy' track shows off more of what Madonna does best - sound current. The trap sounds and the cries of "go hard or go home" paired up with Nicki Minaj's strong verse present Rebel Heart with a potential hit. 8/10

Hold Tight - The horns in the 2 previous tracks are scrapped for this pulsing drum track. It could be a bit bigger with the production, but Rebel Heart seems to feel more comfortable in minimalism. 7.5/10

Joan of Arc - Rebel Heart's trap onslaught is halted by the guitar strumming Joan of Arc. The verses seem laughable at first but once Madonna sings "I don't wanna talk about it right now," you're hit with a feeling of "oh shit, she's serious." The metaphor, production and feelings are strong, but the lyrics and delivery simply aren't. Joan of Arc finishes having accomplished most, but not all of its goals. 7/10

Iconic (feat. Chance the Rapper and Mike Tyson) - Rebel Heart has moved back to the party room. The gritty and pulsing synths of Iconic are addictive. 9/10

HeartBreak City - After going to the 3AM night club Iconic, HeartBreak City is the last place someone would want to go. But here we are. This is simply the wrong place to put a ballad. 4.5/10

Body Shop - .... What? Such a bizarre transition and sound compared to the rest of the album. 2/10

Holy Water - Its pulsing and demanding, sexual and holy: a zeitgeist for the album. That being said, the production just isn't strong enough to leave a lasting impression, besides the Vogue interjection. 4/10

Inside Out - The minimalist production actually works here, with the production and lyrics working together to create a dark and sleek deep cut. 8/10

Wash All Over Me - And the credits roll with Wash All Over Me. The chorus is at least nice, but the verses sound like a funeral procession, not a good way to close an album. 4/10

Rebel Heart is rebellious, it fights against ageism and the sexual boundaries of society, but this is something Madonna has been doing for years. 13 albums in, Heart fails to add something truly new to Madonna's discography in its message. Its production is more trap and somewhat more minimalist than Madge's previous works, but Rebel Heart can't stand up against Madonna's magnum opuses. That being said, Rebel Heart isn't bad, it just isn't great enough to compete against the precedent Madonna has set for herself, and the pop stars since her arrival. Rebel Heart has moments of strength but overall, it is just far too inconsistent to be any better than "good."

Overall: 6.5/10