Musicality - Alicia Keys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chely Wright, Neon Hitch
“In Common” (The Remixes) EP
The new single “In Common” is different from what we’ve usually seen from Alicia Keys. Wonderfully tropical and movement-inducing, it’s heavy on dance and has a world music feel. The video seems to touch on freedom and sexuality. In it, people contort their bodies as they dance without shame, and at certain points, they focus on gay couples. I’m proud of artists like Keys who aren’t afraid to tackle something like this in their own artistic way. Among the song’s remixes, a really good one is the Xpect remix. It changes up the drums and makes it even more danceable. The Kenny Dope remix changes the song quite a bit, layering a smooth-jazz and funky bass over it. It sounds crazy, but it works very well and it’s my favorite. You should definitely check out the remixes. I’m excited to see what Keys does next.
I am a longtime fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Anytime I hear a new song from them, I am filled with pure happiness. They have always been able to create a hook that pierces into your heart with euphoria. Since the ’90s, their music has changed into a more calm and funk style of alternative. I’m pleased that they’ve gone this route. They can still rock out, and their melodies remain top-notch. When I heard the single “Dark Necessities,” I instantly knew I had to have it. I am absolutely enjoying the album. My favorite song is “Goodbye Angels,” mostly because of the surprise breakdown at the end. Other favorites are “The Getaway” and “Encore.”
I Am the Rain
Country artist Chely Wright is well-known in Kansas City for her 2012 founding of the LIKEME Lighthouse, an LGBT community center at 39th and Main Streets. This album, her eighth, is the first since 2010, when she came out as a lesbian, released her memoir, Like Me, and released the album Lifted Off the Ground. Since then, she has also gotten married and given birth to twin boys. This full-length album comes out Sept. 9, so I won’t give too much away. She may have gone through a lot, she is still the Chely we love. With good, rich melodies, the album is just as thoughtful as her last one, but it’s a little bit stronger. My favorite songs are “You Are the River” and “What About Your Heart.”
Neon Hitch is a British singer and songwriter, and this album, her first, breaks all the rules. That’s probably why it’s called Anarchy. As a whole, it’s hard to categorize, because the songs can be vastly different from one another. Some are heavier on the R&B influences, others are more on the pop side, and the rest are along the lines of rap and soul. The song “Firetiger” became an immediate favorite for me. It’s calming and soulful. I appreciate that when so much music on the radio is trying too hard to stand out. The album starts off a bit slow, but it more than makes up for it by the end. Most of my favorites were in the second half, including “Please” and “Freedom.” My other favorite is “Why.” I’m glad Neon Hitch was finally able to release a full-length album on her own label after releasing several singles and getting dropped from Warner Bros., her previous label.