Archive for the ‘Electronic’ Category

Now that it’s 2019, and New Year resolutions are on the rise, here’s a guide on how to curate the ultimate workout soundtrack.

1. Go Techno

Whether it’s classic DJ beats, techno, drum ‘n bass, or newer age Calvin Harris-infused tracks, pick your poison. They’re all designed to make work out harder, faster and better.

2. Feel Nostalgic

Pick a song that takes you back, that you know all the words to, that makes you feel good, confident, and like you have a friend alongside with you. Then, run with it (no pun intended.)

3. Guilty Pleasures

When you’re working out, it’s you and your headphones, so be free, have fun, and laugh at yourself a little. You can go Bieber, Britney, Backstreet, or even this gem here (don’t judge.)

4. Choose Reggaeton

Reggaeton is a combination of hip-hop, Latin beats, and dance. It’s impossible to stay still while listening to the sensual Spanish lyrics and hypnotic rhythms.

5. Be Bhangra

Bhangra is high energy, drum heavy, feel-good music from northern India. Even if you don’t understand what they’re saying, you will undoubtedly keep you moving forward.

6. Michael Jackson

Every workout playlist MUST include a Michael Jackson track. Period.

7. Seek Therapy

At the end of a long, difficult, frustrating, craptastic day, sometimes you just want to get mad. Take that energy, and sweat it all out (while listening to these guys scream of course.)

8. Flavour of the Week

Add the song that you’ve had on repeat most recently, that you just can’t get enough of, because it’s catchy and sure to motivate you.

9. Podcasts

For those lighter, stretching kind of work outs (or whatever suits you,) try a podcast. It’s like listening to a couple of friends shoot the shit, and definitely helps the time fly by.

10. Beyoncé

Every workout playlist MUST include a Beyoncé track. Period.

11. Reggae

I’m talking anything from Bob Marley, to Beenie Man, to Sean Paul (but mostly Sean Paul.) You’ll have trouble keeping still, and will be forced to move faster.

12. 90s Hip-Hop

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: 90s hip-hop is the ultimate hip-hop of of all time, and the perfect workout music.

13. Get Lost

If you like to disappear in your head, try indie music. It’ll entrance you with your deepest emotions, and innermost thoughts; all the while letting you continue your workout.

 

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It goes without saying, there’s an art to covering another musician’s work. The key is to make it your own, change as you see fit, whilst maintaining the essence of the original. The following artists missed the memo on all that.

“Get What You Give” by Felix Cartal

Why on Earth did Cartal decide to cover such an underwhelming track? 90s one-hit wonder band The New Radicals birthed this back in 1998, had their 15 minutes, then quit the industry. I tried to find a way to defend his choice – he is, after all, a fellow Canadian. But in no universe, did this make any sense. It wasn’t a good song to begin with, and Cartal just made it worse.


“Faith” by Limp Bizkit

What would possess wannabe punk rockers to make a “loud” version of George Michael’s (RIP) 80s classic? Lead singer Fred Durst along with his whiny voice, roam the streets in oversized board shorts, baseball hats, and a pathetic excuse for a goatee. It’s incomprehensible to me why someone of Durst’s lack of abilities felt he was capable of paying homage to peak George Michael. Brace your ears, this is quite the abomination.

“Fast Car” by Jonas Blue feat. Dakota

This track isn’t like the rest, because technically, it’s a remix, and not a cover. But still; even that was a poor choice by this Jonas Blue character. Tracy Chapman’s original was drowning in emotion. It hung on to that bit of hope, that bit of freedom of not having your past drag you down, and it made you feel everything. This version makes you feel nothing.  Shame on you, Jonas Blue (and Dakota.)

“Under the Bridge” by All Saints

Let me get this straight: female pop group All Saints had the audacity not only to try and cover this epic Red Hot Chili Peppers’ track, but to also do it so so poorly. The DJ-scratch over the guitar intro is offensive. They try to make a song about loneliness and getting high, into something seductive and sultry and mysterious, which for some reason requires the bearing of midriffs. They completely fly over the heart of this song, and ignore its soul. How dare you, All Saints. How dare you.

“Light My Fire” by Train

Train: you are a mediocre pop/rock group (at best) that hit the top of your game in the early 2000s, with a couple of hit singles.  The Doors:  released this song in 1967, and are one the most influential bands of all time. They helped define rock ‘n roll, and this was one of the songs that paved the way. This cover is insulting, forgettable, and keeps none of the spirit of the original. So Train, I have to ask: who do you think you are?

 

(Note: all covers of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and anything by The Beatles or Michael Jackson were omitted – there are just too many horrible ones.)

British trio The xx formed back in 2005, and first came onto the scene in 2009 with their debut album, xx. Romy Madley Croft provides vocals and guitar; Oliver Sim, vocals and bass; Jamie Smith, beats and production. They followed up with 2012’s sublime, Coexist, and most recently 2016’s work of art, I See You. Here’s why you need them in your life.

The Sound: It’s subtle, nuanced, echoing each and every feeling they express, without being distracting. It perfectly sets up the mood for each track, knowing when to quiet down, and when to pick things up. It’s so meticulously and purposefully placed in each track, such that each note, each strum, each pluck of a string, each inflection, each beat has a specific place in the song; nothing is superfluous. It doesn’t fit in any particular genre, having flecks of indie rock and dance; hints of pop and electronic; plenty of confessional tones. The beats, guitar and bass shimmer so brightly together, the resulting music comes off in such a way that, no other version of the song will ever make sense. Their sound is incomparable, inimitable, and frankly deserves to be a genre all on its own.

The Lyrics: One thing to note about The xx, you can’t just have them on in the background. You have to listen to them, and you’ll thank me because what you’ll hear will take you to a place you’ve never been before. You’ll find yourself deep in thought, ruminating over some life event in ways you never have. Each word, each phrase, is so well thought out. Every syllable is in there for a reason, and has a role to play in unfolding the inner workings of Croft and Sim’s minds. They know exactly what to say, and how to say it, and only say what’s necessary to convey their mood; nothing more, nothing less. Like true poets.

The Vocals. There’s nothing outwardly spectacular about their vocals; they don’t do runs, they’re not power houses, they don’t show anything off. They exude just the right amount of force when singing, perfectly exercising control, and not getting carried away. They can be haunting, moving, playful, emotional, thoughtful, on the verge of tears, confident, confused, and everything else you can imagine. They’re honest and vulnerable, and sometimes a total mess on the inside – and it all translates perfectly through their delivery.

The Albums. When you combine their sound, their lyrics and their vocals, this is what you get: a masterpiece that grabs your soul and breaks it apart piece by piece, leaving you empty and broken inside. Then out of nowhere, breathes life right back into you, reviving your soul and making you feel things far beyond what you ever thought possible. I’m not being hyperbolic, they’re just that good. It’s not just a one-off either. Each of their albums is unique in its own way, but still manages to evoke the same senses. If you’ve never seen them live, please do – it’s an experience you’ll  never forget.