Music to Your Ears – Sia, Santigold, Florence + the Machine, and Pentatonix

Hello all, I’m back for another week of new music. Here’s some tracks from some incredibly talented female artists, and one Christmas collection just in time for the holidays!

SiaCheap Thrills

Sia has come quite a long way since she sang about algebra or featured in the most chilling series finale of all time. Her calm demeanor has given way to one of bombastic chanteuse, perfectly highlighted by recent hits Chandelier and Elastic Heart. She’s back again with Cheap Thrills, a fever song that points out how far she’s truly come. Backed by a haunting chorus of creepy children chanting “I love cheap thrills!” Sia contradicts the sentiment by speaking on her past mistakes. From here, she doesn’t need none of that anymore, and will tread lightly. She’s been warning us of the pitfalls of relationships for years now, but people are finally thankfully beginning to listen. Of note, apparently, this single was initally written for Rihanna but rejected in favor of…not releasing anything. So Sia took it upon herself to let us have a listen.

SantigoldCan’t Get Enough of Myself

Santigold’s 2012 release Master of My Make-Believe was a tiny bit underwhelming for my taste. It had one decent single, Disparate Youth that got enough play to be featured in an ad for Honda throughout 2013. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to pull the album above her first in quality. The good news is that it didn’t bring her down too far, as she’s back with perhaps her best song ever – Can’t Get Enough of Myself. While that sounds a little egotistical, it works wonders for the artist, proving that she won’t take crap from any critics and will be able to make the music she knows her listeners want to hear. I imagine this will be the theme of the album, and she’s all the better for it. The rapid fire lyrics and beat are already pumping me up for 2016 alongside Panic! at the Disco’s LA Devotee. The pair of songs are already two of my favorites for the coming year.

ElliphantStep Down

Elliphant’s froggy vocals lend Step Down an air of quirkiness it didn’t quite need. The beats are along the same lines of Santigold and Sia, so I like that this week’s column is beginning to have a similarity other than female artist. This is the only one of the four this week I’ve only heard of today, and I’m excited to hear more from her. The lyrics seem honest, perhaps because of the vulgarity, but I feel like her emotions are running raw. It appears that Elliphant (born Ellinor Olovsdotter) is coming over stateside from Sweden, and we’re much the better for it. I can see this being a nice early-2016 anthem of anti-love. I’ll blare this come Valentine’s Day.

Florence + the MachineI Love You All the Time

As part of Eagles of Death Metal’s Play it Forward Campaign (in light of the horrific events in Paris that EoDM were in the middle of), Florence + the Machine teamed up with indie pop quintet The Maccabees for a cover of Eagles’ sardonic hit I Love You All the Time. Eloquently calibrating the song for Florence Welch’s timbre, the Maccabees back her up for a rollicking good time through a handful of languages pointing out a heartbreaking relationship that’s going nowhere. A simple single from a hard rock band, spelled out to us by one of the best female artists of today. Editor’s note: Apparently, this Play it Forward campaign is a handful of different artists covering this same song. Give it a try, play it foward.

PentatonixThat’s Christmas to Me (Deluxe Edition)

When a capella groups began taking the world by storm in the last few years, Pitch Perfect making them more popular than ever, Pentatonix was the one group that rose above the rest. That’s for good reason, as the Texas quintet is absolutely stellar at making a capella sounding cool. If you’ve ever caught one of their videos, they simply look like they’re having more fun than anyone ever has doing this. I can’t get enough of them, and neither could the world – especially last Christmas, when they released their blockbuster holiday album That’s Christmas to Me.

This year has a slight dearth of new albums, but with the huge hit Pentatonix had on their hands, they’ve released a deluxe version that includes several new songs. If you haven’t picked up the album before, it’s definitely a treat that includes such songs as Fleet Foxes cover White Winter Hymnal, classic Christian songs Hark! the Herald Angels Sing and Mary, Did You Know? as well as their haunting version of Silent Night. The album even contains a version of the ubiquitous mega-hit Let It Go from Disney’s Frozen I find better than the original.

As for this deluxe edition, Pentatonix has added such songs as Joy to the World and The First Noel, as well as a cover of Imogen’s Heap 2005 hit Just For Now, initially written amusingly for the classic episode of The OC entitled “The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn’t.” The whole thing doesn’t seem like a cash grab, as most holiday album redux seem, and it’s helped by the fact that there are five additional songs. The best of the group is their cover of Have Yourself a Merry Christmas. The ebullient vocals serve the modern classic well. The older songs are angelic, and I think Pentatonix can live on for a few more years if they keep putting out quality stuff like this….as long as the fad doesn’t fade too fast.

Key Tracks: White Winter Hymnal, Silent Night, Let It Go, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


 

Ugh, I just thought of the worst pun that everyone else has probably already used for the Santigold song….I can’t get enough of it. There, happy?

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

christmas

 

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