Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Stirling is an extremely talented violinist and music artist. Her music is a beautiful combination of classical violin and electronic dubstep. Most of her songs are instrumental, which is why I am suggesting her music for studying. She started out by competing on Americas got Talent and since then her popularity exploded. With more than 8.7 million subscribers and over 1.6 billion views, she is one of the most popular artists on YouTube. Since I am suggesting this for study music I will stick to discussing her instrumental songs.

Ascendance

This song is great if you like more fast paced electronic music. It starts off with some slow piano and some background electronics. To kick off the build of the song, the violin kicks in and really starts to set the tone of the song. The melodious sounds from the violin clearly show that it is the center of the song. After the beat drops, there is a high tempo violin solo that follows. The song gives a great picture of just what Stirling can do.

Roundtable Rival

Roundtable Rival is not just a great song but it has a really cool video to go with it. It takes on the setting of an old wild west town. Some ruffians roll into town with their electric guitars and Lindsey and her crew has to fight them off with music. It sounds really cheesy but you should check it out for yourself. Throughout the video, there are some exceptional riffs done by Stirling. It is a little too fast paced and high pitched for study music in my book, however, it is a really cool video and song.

These are just two of her spectacular songs and she has tons of others. I have recently started to listen to her music a lot while studying and have found I really enjoy her style. I never thought of mixing classical violin with electronic music and dubstep. However, she makes them work together like they were always meant to be combined. Her music just goes to show that there are still boundaries to break in music and sometimes they can create something amazing.

Her YouTube: Lindsey Stirling

If you think I should do a full review of her lyrical music and background let me know. Let me know who is an artist that you never expected to enjoy so much and what about them is so unique?

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Soundtracks for Studying

Soundtracks are a great option for listening to something while doing some work. Since they are made to be in the background of a film or video game they are far less distracting than any lyrical music. This allows listeners to have the musical aspect that helps them zone into their work while not inhibiting productivity. You can usually find your favorite movie soundtracks on YouTube or Spotify. They are often for sale on iTunes or google play as well. Here are a couple of my favorite soundtracks and why. They are not in a particular order.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

This movie is one of my favorite movies of all time and has an amazing soundtrack to go with it. From the fight scene music to the traveling music, this score has a great balance of fast paced/more intense music, calm peaceful tunes, and darker more ominous sounds. The fact that this is a darker film, its soundtrack is not overly distracting with sudden changes in pitch. It keeps to a lower tone that works so well in the background I often forget I’m listening to anything at all. That is until the classic “He’s a pirate” comes on.

Star Wars

Star Wars, one of the most popular movie series in the world has an epic soundtrack to go with it. You can pick any of the 8 movies to find a good soundtrack and even though they are all from the same series, each of them are unique in their own way. “The Phantom Menace” has a light feel to it and is very laid back. That is a great soundtrack for just some nice relaxing background music that doesn’t get very intense.

“A New Hope” and the other two originals are completely done by an orchestra, which gives them a nostalgic feel. This means that there isn’t really any of the bass that is used for intense scenes. Which can be a good thing for studying because often it can be distracting. There are superb songs in these scores that are definitely worth checking out. I really enjoy the cantina band music in “A New Hope.”

Currently, however, I have been listening to the “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” soundtracks. The “Rogue One” soundtrack, however, is definitely one of my new favorites. A friend described it perfectly when she said, “It is an excellent combination of the orchestral style of the originals, with the light-heartedness of the prequels. The score has a fun exciting tone to it that keeps you immersed in the music. Yet gives you chills during the more emotional and tense portions. The score overall envelops you into the Star Wars universe. (Unfortunately, there is not a YouTube video for the entire soundtrack currently. It is on Spotify though if you want to check it out.)

Honorable Mentions

The first “How to Train Your Dragon” movie has an excellent soundtrack. It has a more lively style then the others I have mentioned.

The soundtrack for “Jurassic Park” is another great one. It has a gloomy feel to match the rest of the movie.

“Indiana Jones” is another exciting soundtrack. Specifically “The Temple of Doom.”

These are just some of my favorite soundtracks to listen too. You can find all of them on Spotify and most of them on YouTube if you would like to check them out.

 

 

Music Changes Lives

Music can be one of the most impacting pieces of media in our lives. Cultures all over the world celebrate with music and look too music to bring people together. Not only is it something that we listen to with others, it is also something we can rely on in our dark times. Something to give us peace when we need it most. Something that can pick us back up when we’ve fallen. I had the amazing opportunity to talk to Christany and Casey Mack about their experiences and how music has impacted their lives.

In high school, Mrs. Mack suffered from depression and many of the symptoms that came with it. It led her to shut herself off from others and not want to seek help. She felt “trapped” and “captivated” by her depression. “I didn’t want to break free from my depression,” she said.

The one thing that helped her get through these hard times was the music she listened too. She said music was extremely helpful and powerful during the times she was suffering. She was especially moved by the song “My Immortal” by Evanescence.

“The song really resonated with me,” said. Mrs. Mack. “It represented all the things I was going through. I could relate to it.”

She also listened to a lot of music by Sarah Brightman, a former Broadway star. Brightman was previously married to Andrew Lloyd. He was the producer of songs like “Phantom of the Opera” and “Requiem”. In fact, she was the inspiration for these timeless songs. Brightman writes music in a melodic opera style and often in other languages than English.

Mrs. Mack listened to Brightman’s music because “it had beautiful melodies”. It helped to calm her down in times of great stress and sadness. Listening to this music was able to give her a much-needed respite from her pained head and heart. It also “helped me to go to sleep when nothing else would,” Mrs. Mack said.

She started to look up the lyrics to these songs and really get a feel for what they meant and represented.

“There is something very powerful about music and songs that captivate your mind and heart,” said Mrs. Mack. “If you see and understand the lyrics to a song, you can recognize the emotion and meaning behind the song.”

This gives the listener a connection to the song and artist. When you listen to a song and come to understand the emotion and meaning behind it, the song becomes much more than just music to your ears, it becomes music to your heart.

Mr. Mack told me about a friend of his, who had a similar experience.

“My friend suffered from a deep case of depression and self-harm. The only thing that helped him was his music through his guitar. He would pick up his guitar as soon as he felt the urge to hurt himself, which relieved the need that drove him. He is currently doing much better and playing in a band in college.”

From just these two stories you can see that music is much more than a form of entertainment. Whether it be listening or playing, music can be life changing. When music has a meaning behind it that you truly understand,, you live through the melodies and lyrics. Music takes the place of all the hurt and pain you feel and gives you something else entirely to focus on. It relieves you, for long enough that you can process you feelings and emotions then stand back up and know that you can do this.

 

 

 

 

Andy Mineo

Andy Mineo started really making music in 2009 with the stage name C-lite by opening for some larger artists. In 2011 he signed with Reach Records Label and reverted to his legal name for the stage. He released his album “Formally Known” in September 2011 and has since released 3 other albums and a few singles.

Andy is different than both of the artists we have talked about so far. He tends to stick to the fast-talking style of hip-hop. He is able to flow his fast words with his beats on a unique level.

His song The Saints from his album “Heroes for Sale” is a great demonstration of his skill as a hip-hop artist. Throughout the song, he talks about how people didn’t expect him to make it to where he is today. He continues saying, “Tell me give em 2 years it’ll go cold.
But them words got ate like ocho.” Andy wants people to realize that they shouldn’t give up on their dreams just because someone says you won’t make it. He gives himself as an example of this and shows people that he stuck to his dreams and they became a reality.

His song You Can’t Stop Me, which is on his album “Never Land” shows a different approach to hip-hop music. The verses contain more bass than anything with some extra background noise. However, right before the chorus, the song builds with some snare, then drops on the chorus. The lyrics are melded to the beat, which gives the song a great flow. Andy continues the theme of The saints in this song as well. The song’s chorus starts out with, “They try to shut us down, and it ain’t gon’ slide. Only thing I fear is God and he on my side.” Here he is trying to tell people that they should not be shut down by people who talk them down. They should not let those people have an influence over them. The next part of the chorus explains this clearly, “You can’t stop me. That’s all you got? Come on with it.”

Andy has an amazing talent for mixing fast lyrics with a slower beat. He doesn’t make the beat the focus of the song. He highlights the lyrics so they are not lost when listening. Some other song by his that are definitely worth checking out are Uno Uno Seis, Desperados, Ayo!, and Know that’s right.

KJ-52

Jonah Sorrentino also known as KJ-52 started his full music career in 2000 with the release of his album “7th Avenue”. Since then he has released 8 other albums with his newest being “Mental”, which was released in 2014. At 41 years old he is still making unique music.

As a white rapper, KJ is constantly compared to Eminem. Most rappers respond to a comparison like this with hostility. They talk about how they are the best rapper and how they could destroy their competition. KJ had a completely different response to this, however. He released a song called Dear Slim addressed to Eminem in his album KJ-52, which was released in 2011. The song is  a letter to Eminem asking him to consider how he influences the youth around the world. He talks about how Eminem is a role model to millions around the world and recommends that he would take that into consideration when writing his music. KJ goes on to say he relates to Eminem’s past and has gone through a lot of the same stuff. However, KJ writes his music with the goal of giving hope to the youth through positive and uplifting music.

KJ-52’s newest album “Mental” may be his best yet. His song Gameface is unique in the fact that it has two parts. The song is an upbeat song about being prepared for anything that comes your way. He sings about how he always has his “game face on” in preparation for that day’s challenges.

A really deep and meaningful song in this album is called, Island of the Misfit Toys. He writes this song to all the people that are looked down upon. All the minorities in this world that need to remember that they are perfect just the way they are. He starts out the song by talking about himself and how he was the awkward nerdy kid in school, who would always be in the search for acceptance. He then goes on to tell how his mindset changed and he realized he was his own person. In the chorus, he reminds all those that are judged as different that they are loved.

This is just a small taste of what JK-52 is about and what he has to offer. Throughout, his 8 albums his music varies a lot, which gives you a wide variety of hip-hop styles to listen too. I would highly recommend checking him out.

My favorite songs by him:                                                                          (Not necessarily in order)

Gameface, Mental, Its Going Down, Fight Music, Facemelt, Island of the Misfit Toys.

 

NF

NF also know as Nathan “Nate” Feuerstein is a new rising power in the mainstream hip hop world. With his recent release of his album Therapy Session he made it to number 12 on the billboard music charts. He recently signed with the Capitol CMG music label in 2014 and released his EP, “NF” soon after. His first full album Mansion came out on March 31, 2015, and really showed his drive for music.

Nate grew up with a harsh family life. Between his parent’s divorce, his mom’s boyfriend physically abusing him, and his mom overdosing on pills in 2009, he needed a way to let out his feelings. Music was his escape. He writes lyrics about his real hardships, struggles, and pains. This is one of the biggest reasons he is currently rising in fame. So many people are going through hard times in this world and NF is someone they can feel connected with.

“Mansion”

His first full album Mansion impressed so many people. Throughout it, NF gives an in-depth look at his past, hardships, and how he made it to where he is now. The title song “Mansion” breaks down how his mind in the terms of a house. He mentions how his mind is like a bunch of different rooms full of things he wants to forget. One lyric says, “Physically abused, now that’s the room that I don’t want to be in. That picture ain’t blurry at all, I just don’t want to see it”. In the next verse, he says, “See my problem is I don’t fix things. I just try to repaint, cover em up, like it never happen.” He is referring to his past and how he wants to forget it. The song has a nice pace to it. Not fast, just enough that it is something the listener can understand and really get a feel for.

All of Nate’s songs in this album have lyrics that come directly from his heart. In each song, you can feel his drive for not only his music, but for his fans as well. His song “All I Have,” gives a great picture of how he feels about his music and his skill with flowing his lyrics alongside a faster beat.

I have just given you a small picture into the music world of NF. Every single song he has written is worth giving a listen too. I am planning on taking a closer look at his second album Therapy Session in the near future. If you would like to take a look at his earlier music I have put links to what I found below.

Before his signing with Capitol he released a full album called Moments. The music lacks some of his current flare but I figured I would share it with you anyway.                             https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZZ0dZBqQzU&list=PLnWBL6ANebQr01fE0CX7bGoy34bxhbC78

He released some other music to the public on his Myspace page: https://myspace.com/nathanfeuerstein/music/songs