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KiNG MALA introduces herself in GEMiNi

Areli Castro, better known as KiNG MALA, released her debut EP GEMiNi this month. After several singles were put out in the last two years, we finally have a collection from the alternative soul artist!

“I realized that as different as each song is, the whole EP is just 2 sides of the same coin playing out over and over again, 2 versions of the same character. So that is the reason I chose the name gemini, to represent the balance and chaos between two halves of the same thing,” says KiNG MALA. With that as an introduction to the EP, I was more than ready to dive in.

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be “If I Try to Find You,” which was released as a single earlier this year. The song weaves us through mellow verses with a simple beat but overlaid with haunting background vocals, and then erupts into a passion-filled chorus.

We get three songs on the EP that we haven’t heard before: “B4U,” “Give Me,” and “Funeral.” In all of the songs KiNG MALA shows us her badass, confident side, but then flips and shows us someone who wants to stay home or escape the life she’s living. And while both of those sides seem so different, she shows us that in life and in music, they are in balance.

Take a listen and let us know what you think of GEMiNi!

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Miley Cyrus goes glam rock with “Plastic Hearts”

I’m a few days late to this review, but Miley Cyrus’s new album requires some time to sit with to take in the full effect. Plastic Hearts is one surprise after another: with a ballad taking the #3 slot, absolute icons joining for features, live covers, and a whopping 15 tracks. Buckle up, let’s go!

The first song, “WTF Do I Know,” kicks off the album with an anthemic start. Only a few seconds in I was begging that the rest of the album be exactly the same. Miley has already proven she can remake herself and jump between genres time and time again, but I was hoping one day she would bring more rock influence into her music. And she delivered.

Timeless is a word that comes to mind when listening to this LP, and I can surely see us jamming to some of these tracks for years to come. It’s a rare day when I suggest songs for my dad to listen to, but I know we will both be playing the air drums in the car to “Night Crawling” featuring Billy Idol.

The latter half of the album really slows down though, and that was initially a little disappointing to me. I still like the songs, but I wanted more rock ’n roll, more angst, more songs that feature Miley’s incredible vocals that you can hear in her live cover of The Cranberries’s “Zombie.” Am I the only one who was expecting something a little more exciting out of “Prisoner,” her song with Dua Lipa?

But guess what? Miley does what she wants, and her music is primarily for her. And I applaud that. And I will scream from the mountaintops in support of topics she covers: about sexist double standards, about how being LGBTQ+ is normal, and about being unapologetically herself and loving it.

You’ll find me later learning to play “High” on the guitar and being thankful that Miley was able to salvage the music that was lost in the fire that burned down her home in LA.

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Music News Reviews

Shallou creates pure magic on debut album, Magical Thinking

Whether you’re social distancing at home or driving to your (essential) job, consider putting on a track or two from Shallou’s newest album, Magical Thinking. It contains thirty-eight minutes of pure emotional joy that deserves to be thoroughly listened to. The first few seconds of the intro track immediately brought me back to a past summer and pushed all worries I had from this difficult time out of the way. Nothing like a nice drive with ‘‘Forget’’ playing in the background to make you feel like the world is back to normal, even if it isn’t. 

The album surrounds the concept of memory loss, holding onto those intimate moments before they become out of reach. It shifts from the sadness of memory loss to represent the seasons with all of it’s changes and how that relates to people. The album holds an emotional aspect to it; maybe it’s from the introspective lyrics, or the spacious, light tone of the vocals, but it definitely left me with a heavy heart and a breath of fresh air. The production seems slightly opposite from emotional as it stems from joyous electronic pop but does a magnificent job keeping the allure of ‘‘whimsical sadness’’ that Shallou describes in his music. 

The album features collaborators; Ashe, Daya, Zachary Knowles, and many others, that makes it all even more worth listening to as each artist brings their own flair without compromising the overall message in each track. 

My favorite track would have to be, Older featuring Daya. It’s everything you need in a song from the combination of Daya’s vocals, Shallou’s production, and the top-notch songwriting putting it at my number one track on-repeat. The lyrics, ‘‘Maybe one day when I am older, I might understand why love doesn’t happen to everyone who wants it’’ is so beautifully written and performed, it is just the heart-breaking, ambient ear candy we were all looking for. Shallou has built a name for himself as one of music’s most organic artists who successfully gained over three million streams thus far. I cannot wait to hear more from Shallou and expect nothing less than something magical from him on the next release. 

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