jean ryden’s new video for “parallel universe” is heartbreaking and impactful

jean ryden’s new video for “parallel universe” is heartbreaking and impactful

In Jean Ryden’s music video for her song “Parallel Universe”, Jean desperately wants the trauma of losing her parents to have never occurred. In the beginning of the song, she replays images of her parents in her mind in black and white, because her past is like an old movie; the happy moments with her parents are covered with feelings of dread. All the color has been depleted from her memories because new movies are symbolic of new, happy memories with her parents being formed. In comparison, the old movies symbolize her happy memories as only in the past

Jean lays in her bed and leans her head to the side, which reflects when she would lean on her parents for support. She is alone in the bed because after her parents passed away, she felt alone and like she had nobody to lean on for support. The camera zooms in on a close-up image of her eyes while she lays in her bed because her eyes are her pathway to all of the loneliness she feels inside. 

Color film of a garden with beautiful roses of different shades and a white bird flying above it is representative of her healing from her grief and finding peace. To elaborate, the bird symbolizes her flying because she is freeing herself from the black and white space of her grief. 

Images lasting for a few seconds, all of her memories can never be remembered in complete detail, but the most important details remain engraved. The colored images represent her purely happy memories, the black and white images are symbolic of her memories remembered in sadness or trigger her grief, and the partially colored images are memories she is remembering to heal from her grief and sadness.

The same image of her alone, opening and closing her eyes, leaning her head against a wall, in a vacant room, occurring for a few seconds, repeatedly, shows her constant despair. She shuts off all of her memories with or of her parents because she goes into a state of depression, which she is constantly battling to escape from. 

The video ends with her sitting in a dark room with candles and a black sky lit with bright stars. Images are played in quick seconds against Jean’s soft, melodic voice, which has a deeply sad tone on its edges along with hints of desperation. Her voice also has another tone, that feels like she is going through feelings of clarity. 

Once she repeats her memories filled with many different emotions, she must admit that the reality is her parents are in heaven. Therefore, her memories are a “parallel universe.”

yours truly get edgy with heartbreak in vibrant, chaotic new music video for “walk over my grave”

yours truly get edgy with heartbreak in vibrant, chaotic new music video for “walk over my grave”

Punk rock outfit Yours Truly comes at us with the energy and attitude our summer was missing with their latest track “Walk Over My Grave.” The video for the track is just as chaotic and beautiful as the song, a live performance of sorts. While the band plays, bright colors overlay and frantic frames interweave. Shots of individual band members, with art placed sporadically set the tone for a track that wreaks of heartbreak and loss.

With an edge.

dagny, “it’s only a heartbreak”

dagny, “it’s only a heartbreak”

by: katy mombourquette

Much like a heart broken in two halves, Norwegian singer Dagny is gearing up to release the second half of her debut album Strangers / Lovers by releasing the first single, “It’s Only A Heartbreak.” Since the A side of the album dropped earlier this May, its two lead singles have received an impressive response; “Come Over” spent 3 weeks at the top of the Norwegian radio-airplay charts, while “Somebody” made its way the top 5, amassing over 14 million streams along the way. The album as a whole tracks the journey of a relationship. The half that has already been released traces the dizzying, butterfly-inducing blooming of a new love, but now it’s time for things to fall apart.  Side B of Strangers / Lovers is out on October 2nd via Little Daggers Records, and it examines the fall out of the relationship that blossomed on side A. 

Like the whole album, “It’s Only A Heartbreak” is personal, so Dagny uses conversational lyrics to reflect on her post-breakup emotions and to give herself a sort of pep talk in the aftermath. The song was partially inspired by Humphery Bogart’s famous quote from the 1942 classic Casablanca: “Here’s looking at you, kid.” Dagny explains, “Like the movie, the song is about knowing that you will never get someone back, but you can secretly still look at, and admire, that certain someone. The song carries a nonchalant expression, but the undertone makes it pretty obvious that you’re not over that person yet.”

And indeed, from all sonic appearances, “It’s Only A Heartbreak” is an energetic, striking bop. Its infectious melody lines and vibrant array of jittering electronic sounds create a vivid soundscape that could be mistaken for a dance track– unless you listen to the lyrics. Dagny sings “Most days I wake up I’m okay / I’m doing my own thing, I don’t have a moment to think about you / Most days I’m up on a high wave, And I’m just like urgh, It’s only a heartbreak, I got to get through you,” and suddenly the brilliance and complexity of the sounds surrounding her seem to reflect the intense and complicated emotions that come with heartbreak. So whether you’re feeling heavy-hearted yourself and just want to feel seen, you just want to dance, or you’re a fan of intriguing musical settings and skilled production, “It’s Only A Heartbreak” is definitely for you. 

Social Media Posts:
Side A of Strangers / Lovers announcement.
“It’s Only A Heartbreak” announcement + some info on other releases.
Single announcement + BTS of an upcoming music video.
Celebration of 10 million streams for “Somebody”.

ruchir, “heartbreaker” ft. buto

ruchir, “heartbreaker” ft. buto

Middle Eastern born singer Ruchir takes the R&B route with his new track “Heartbreaker”, a song that you can dance to and enjoy the lyrical content at the same time. A song about a heartbreaker, Ruchir sings about someone leaving him high and dry. “Heartbreaker” has some Blackbear vibes to it with Ruchir’s twist. The alleged villain breaks the singer’s heart on the dance floor and leaves him in pieces. A little bit of Spanish towards the end of the song adds some fun flavor to the mix.

The song is not only great, but it is a piece that really shows what Ruchir is about as an artist.

Keep up with Ruchir here.

dream wife, “hey heartbreaker”

dream wife, “hey heartbreaker”

On January 26th, we will have the pleasure of enjoying Dream Wife‘s debut album in its entirety, but until then we’ve got another fun surprise for you. The trio recently released the music video for their track “Hey Heartbreaker”, and we’ve got it for you to enjoy. Directed and animated (Beautifully, might we add?) by Mason London, the video is alluring in its ability to capture your attention utilizing robot cartoons. Somehow, we feel like we’re getting a little taste of the band’s actual performance chops in the video, even though their characters are animated robots. The video has the unmistakable feel of a Gorillaz classic in the way its presented, with a slightly more punk and empowered tilt to it all.

Keep up with Dream Wife here.

amber riley’s cover of “macarthur park” by donna summer honors the queer roots of disco

amber riley’s cover of “macarthur park” by donna summer honors the queer roots of disco

It’s the start of pride month, and there’s only one form of music most synonymous with the queer experience: disco! The genre’s resurgence in popularity has only been growing in recent years, likely helped by pride’s more mainstream acceptance (well, by form of rainbow capitalism or not) and the fact that so many of those original disco hits are just that good.

When making dance music inspired by the golden ages of disco and house music, it’s important to acknowledge the genre’s origins to show you’re respectful of its history and creators. This is something Amber Riley and Micah McLaurin hit the mark perfectly on in their new cover of “MacArthur Park”, originally by disco goddess Donna Summer in 1978.

…well, okay, technically not originally. It was first performed in a more baroque style by Richard Harris and written by Jimmy Webb in 1968, then covered by Summer ten years later on her Live and More album.

Their version is obviously indebted to Summer’s cover by its disco flavorings, but it also captures the melodrama of Harris’ original by way of the theatricality of Riley’s voice. If you don’t know, Amber Riley (of Glee and several screen/stage musical productions, including Dreamgirls) is a monstrously talented performer, and I went into the single expecting a quality performance. Yet she goes full broadway on the track and sings her heart out, creating a dramatic buildup to when the song transitions from a modest but soulful rendition of heartbreak into a breathtaking blast of disco excess.

If the opening captures the icy cabaret of Harris’ original, the rest of the song recreates the loose and free-spirited energy that the best of Donna Summer’s singles had. Micah McLaurin’s mixture of dance-pop and orchestral music (by way of members of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) is the perfect complement to Riley’s vocals. McLaurin provides a dreamy piano solo in the second half, and the other musicians provide a sweeping string and horn section and a thumping four-on-the-floor disco beat that never lets up.

It works really well as a great way to kick off pride month, successfully honoring queer history by way of a killer dance party. Amber Riley and Micah McLaurin’s cover is available now, in both a 3-minute radio edit and a 6-minute full version.

yellowcard’s ryan key talks catching the performance bug, self-awareness, and 20 years of ocean avenue

yellowcard’s ryan key talks catching the performance bug, self-awareness, and 20 years of ocean avenue

Emo children of the aughts rejoice, because one of our favorite live bands is making the rounds again, and they’re bigger than ever before. Pop-punk bad boys Yellowcard delivered a kiss of surf pop, a hint of nostalgia, and a whole lot of energy every time they took the stage. So when I had the opportunity to interview Ryan Key, Yellowcard’s lead singer, Star Wars aficionado, podcast host, and content creator extraordinaire – I snapped it up.

One of the first things I say, after promising myself not to bring it up? “I spoke to you in 2006 and it was to ask you to sign a t-shirt for my friend and I was too nervous to say anything else.” Cool. Word vomit.

“Oh, I was such a little shit in 2006 too,” Key immediately admitted, laughing. “So, it should be a way better encounter this time, I promise.”

Key’s self-awareness eased us into a conversation that ran the gamut. From our shared love of Star Wars (Though I haven’t quite expanded into podcast territory yet), being driven by bitterness through some tough times, how it feels coming off the biggest tour Yellowcard has ever experienced, and reflecting on 20 years of Ocean Avenue.

Yellowcard’s rapid-fire return fueled a “Celebrating 20 Years of Ocean Avenue” tour that took on bigger venues than they’ve ever played. The band’s welcome back was far from polite, with screaming fans more dedicated to the art form, acceptance of the music, and enjoyment during shows to fuel the energy.

From theatrical beginnings…

Admittedly, Ryan didn’t do much with music growing up. He took piano lessons for a couple of months, hated it, and quit. He wasn’t much for musicals, either. He was much more attached to the idea of the theater. An idea – it seems – that may have stemmed from his first role as Tiny Tim in none other than A Christmas Carol.

“It’s two lines,” Key admits, laughing. “But being on stage at 6 years old in front of enough people, I can only imagine shaped me, changed me forever. Having that moment happen on your impressionable little 1st-grade mind. It’s like, yeah I want more of this. You get that dopamine hit of being on stage and the adrenaline of that, you want more of that. And you don’t know why but I think as a kid, after that, I was just dead set on being on stage however I could.”

In 10th grade, Key was accepted to Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville and his pursuit of acting and theater got really serious. He was super involved at school in the shows and the deep, specific education. “We were studying Stanslovsky and real heavy stuff for high school kids,” Key says.

…to stress-reducing hobbies.

To help blow off steam in his -very limited – free time? “I had a band on the weekends,” he explains. “I got my first guitar when I was 11 or 12 years old and I played it and I wrote really crappy songs and had some friends that I played with but that was never gonna be something that I did professionally. I never even had it in my mind. I didn’t really enjoy singing, to be honest, very much. It’s still not my favorite part of my job. I was the lead singer of the band but I think that comes from that sense of wanting to be an entertainer, wanting to be a performer.”

This fact can be hard to believe, as Key’s vocal range is impressive and wide-ranging in its pop-punk glory. And his life performance tactics? Energetic to this day, at a level most people aren’t entirely capable of even at their peak. “It was never in my mind as something I wanted to pursue as a career,” he shrugs. “I just didn’t get into college where I wanted to go.”

When one door closes…

Ryan never let his rejection to the Theater Program at Boston University – twice, unfortunately – go. “I got into school in Boston but I didn’t get into their BFA program. My parents were like, ‘We’re not going to spend all that money for you to go to a private school in Boston if you’re not in the program that you want to be in.'”

While reasonable, it can be difficult to recover from something like that so early on in one’s career. From that bitterness was born a focus. Admittedly – and fairly – Ryan was spiteful about what had happened and chose not to complete the BFA program he started in Florida. He dropped out of school, leaned hard into music, and eventually began singing in Yellowcard.

To hear an artist admit to leaning into something in that anger is very refreshing. You often hear about heartache and heartbreak in everyone’s work, but it can be difficult to address the times of anger and instances when you feel things didn’t go the way they perhaps should have. Having a creative outlet to pour himself into was clearly the way to go, and is something so many of us should embrace as a healing mechanism in times of trouble.

Celebrating 20 Years of Ocean Avenue

Ryan says the band really appreciates the fact that the fans have weathered the storms alongside them. He credits this grand musical journey to the fact that fans have been patient and forgiving.

I have, personally, been a fan of Yellowcard’s since I was an adolescent, so getting a peek into their tour dynamic was ideal. When asked about the “Celebrating 20 Years of Ocean Avenue” tour, Key was almost gushing. “I feel like my favorite part of the tour was the energy between the band itself. I don’t think we’ve ever gone on a tour that was so lacking in negativity as this one. This tour was so full of happiness and positivity that it felt like an alien world, almost, compared to the Yellowcard that I’ve known for the past 20+ years.” 

What Key refers to – this feeling of a more in-sync crew and better touring environment and experience – has been echoed by artists the world over since the pandemic triggered larger conversations around mental health and balance in the music industry. Tours are being approached in a more holistic manner, and it’s been a reinvigorating time in the music industry. He went on:

I think we all felt that way. Which compounded each other aspect of the tour. The shows and interaction with fans, on-stage and off, and the support I think that we had from our crew every day felt stronger and better. I think that’s because there was a sense of peace and calm on the road.

We’ve never had that. Yellowcard has historically been a bit of a chaotic and tumultuous bag of personalities that have not created the best environment to work in. So this was, you know, jarring in the best possible way, to get out there and get a couple weeks in and realize, Oh, everything is just OK. And we can just let that be.

Pausing to reflect

It was almost spiritual, the way that he described it. Key’s acute awareness of the dynamic of the band made me wonder, aloud, how long it took in his career to come to this acceptance of who he is and his identity in the band.

I think it started, for me personally, during the final chapter of it all, at the end. You know, in 2016, 2017. Realizing that I was going to lose it forever because, at the time, it truly felt like that was going to be the case. It started with, I think, just a simple idea of really wanting to enjoy that tour in 2016 and 2017 and the international stuff we did.

That whole experience, as much as I tried, was sort of tinged with the reasons we were stepping away from it. The metrics that you use to quantify success, right, started to say “This is on the way down. We’re on the backslide.” Let’s end this before it goes too far so we can end it on our own terms and make it something special for fans and for ourselves. 

It went a lot deeper than that because it did go into the personalities and the inner workings of the band and things that we keep pretty close to the chest. So, as much as I tried to really enjoy it all, there was still an air of sadness and kind of negativity that had carried into that from all of the reasons we decided to step away in the first place. 

It wasn’t until I got home and started to have to figure out how to make my own way [that the self-awareness set in.] And the pandemic, really, was huge. A good friend of mine from high school was stopping through to stay with me. I had moved back to Los Angeles – which didn’t work out because the pandemic hit and we couldn’t tour or work so I was only there for about 6 or 8 months and then I left to come back east – but I had gone out there to kind of re-establish myself there and start working on film and tv music and things I want to do, too, as I get older.

My friend stopped through and it was only going to be for a week but it was the week that the lockdown happened in California. So he ended up staying with me for an entire month. During that time, he sort of opened my mind to meditating and starting to truly figure out what was going on with myself and work on the reasons why I had ended up where I was. I had never taken a minute to look that far inward, I don’t think. So it really wasn’t until 2020 that I started to kind of forge the path that has led me back here, now, where I am. 

As if to echo this spiritual, self-reflective sentiment, he notably wrapped the tour wielding a lightsaber, a symbol that the force is strong. While he claims that he brought the saber to make his nephew happy, we know there were probably additional motives here. (Because, really, who doesn’t want to have a lightsaber on tour with them?) For those of you wondering, yes, he does have a lightsaber lying around. In fact, he has multiple.

Embracing creative outlets

Besides his lifetime love of the franchise, Key has had the opportunity to connect with the franchise on a different level since the pandemic. “I’ve been really lucky the last 3 or 4 years to intensify my connection with Star Wars through hosting the Thank The Maker podcast with my friends,” he almost gushes. “I think Star Wars reminds you, at 43 years old, if you just give in and let yourself love it the way that I do, it reminds you how to play. That’s something that adults just don’t do.”

At this point, Key doesn’t realize he has hit a home run and we dive into a conversation about what being a “Disney adult” means in certain circles and some of the symbolism involved in Star Wars. We agreed that a certain level of play is encouraged to truly live a full life, especially as we age. “I’m a big fan of my wife for allowing me to just embrace that side, that childhood side of me, and letting me dress up in costumes with my friends and swing lightsabers around, you know?” he says, almost in amazement. “It’s really been a beneficial thing.”

Embracing change

As for if anything has changed for the band over the years – aside from the deep, self-realizations and occasional weaponry – Ryan says writing with everyone has become much more simplified. Explaining that the technology just wasn’t there to support quick changes to tracks and production fixes when they recorded their first albums, Key said the process now is just so much more accessible. “We can get right into ProTools, create the demo, program the drums so that we can change those around – we can try all the different options.”

The great part about having home studios is being able to control the sound as you build it. This way, you have more of an actualized recording that more than likely will sound much more similar to the final product. “It’s way more inspiring to have a good-sounding, ripping demo to steer the direction of the melody and the lyric that I’m going to put over the music.”

But the way Yellowcard writes? Pretty much the same. And super focused on the instrumentals. “It’ll start with usually a guitar riff. Shawn also has brought plenty of ideas on the violin or ideas for the structure of a whole song. He’ll have like a motif or a chord progression he will bring in that we will then build riffs and things around that.”

But you have to remember, Ryan is one with The Force. “I get middle-of-the-night ideas sometimes. I’ll wake up or I’ll not be able to sleep, one or the other. And it’ll just happen and I’ll take out my notes app on my phone and start plugging stuff in.

The title track from their latest release, “Childhood Eyes,” actually came to be that way. “I woke up with that chorus melody in my head and I started to put words to it. I could hear it happening in my head. And when I got to Austin for pre-production, I had an idea for the verse and the chorus in my notepad but I had never picked up a guitar to put music to it. So I just said, ‘Hey I have these lyrics and I have sort of a cadence and a rhythm for them.’ And we wrote the whole song in 15 minutes.” 

Looking forward…

In the coming weeks, Key will be working from his new home studio. When asked about his plans for the space, he perks up immediately. “I’m doing the whole room black,” he says. “Ceiling, walls, floor. A lot of wood grain and a lot of green pops in the room. The vibe is super Scandinavian, and I love that. I’m a big fan of Iceland, Sweden and Denmark. I love that part of the world so much. So we have a lot of this [look] in our house.”

Even more than the initial planning and execution of the project, this room will hold so much more meaning for Ryan as an artist, as he explores new podcast-related projects, and films content, pursues long-term goals (like music supervision and composition), and writes new Yellowcard songs for us to enjoy. It will also hold space for Ryan as a new father, viewing movies and creating art in this space with his family.

You mentioned we met in 2006. I wouldn’t want to meet me in 2006, you know? It’s just not even comparable, the headspace I’m in now and the tools that I have now to kind of prove my reactivity and try to stay positive. Things I was just incapable of doing for the better part of my career in Yellowcard until now. So, in the end, stepping away from the band and having that time was probably the best possible thing that could happen to me, personally. Because the perspective that I’ve come back to the band with is just so wildly different than it’s ever been before.

Yellowcard has, once again, taken a front seat in Ryan’s life. Check out an upcoming performance near you throughout 2024.

sophia marie steps into her “femme fatale” phase with glittering new single

sophia marie steps into her “femme fatale” phase with glittering new single

Singer, actress, and author Sophia Marie is no stranger to heartbreak. Or so the debut single from her sophomore effort, a song titled “Femme Fatale” would have you believe. With a distinct nod to late 80s/early 90s pop, this track absolutely glitters sonically from the first chord to the very last line. But the subject matter? A bit more tempestuous.

Admits Sophia Marie of the track:

‘Femme Fatale’ is an 80s-inspired ballad that depicts a narrator engaging in reckless, degenerate, and overtly flirtatious behavior because the one man that would make her calm, steady, and stable doesn’t love her back.

It’s a song that attempts to hide its insecurity but then blazes it out in the open, describing the narrator’s process of morphing into something she despises just to stoke envy in her lover’s heart. I was inspired by my own experiences, exaggerating my changes in personality when I became jaded or disillusioned with love, but I also drew heavily upon iconic historical and literary femme fatale figures like Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, and Moulin Rouge’s Satine to give it a sexy ambiance that causes dissonance with its depressing words.

“Femme Fatale” works up a frenzy lyrically, with a disarmingly smooth sound. Get your first listen below.

Pre-save the track here and keep up with Sophia Marie here.

‘Hocus Pocus 2’ Is Finally Here (And It’s Wickedly Good)

‘Hocus Pocus 2’ Is Finally Here (And It’s Wickedly Good)

29 years.

We waited 29 years to experience these witches again. The long-awaited sequel to the cult classic Hocus Pocus was released just in time for the witching season, on September 30, 2022. Just 29 years, 2 months, and 2 weeks after Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker portrayed the most wicked trio of sisters the silver screen had ever encountered. 

Equal parts sass, silliness, captivating humor, and darkness, the first film created a movement of witch-adjacent fans. Holding onto that sense of magic, that belief in powers and the safety of nostalgia has kept its fire fueled all this time. So, of course, the whole world went wild when the sequel was announced.

The Deets on Hocus Pocus 2

In all honesty, my expectations were low. Three decades removed, Hocus Pocus 2 was written by producer and actress Jen D’Angelo, who was just 5 years old when the first movie made its theatrical debut. While I am a very big fan of the first movie, I was afraid enough of the characters in my early years. I didn’t get into the fandom side of things until much later in life. Still, how could this new movie possibly do the original any justice? 

Let me tell you, this movie was enjoyable above and beyond all expectations. It begins by establishing the (honestly heartbreaking) history of how the Sanderson sisters became witches in a dark forest as orphaned teenagers. It quickly swoops us back to present-day Salem, where holistic wellness and mindset work mirrors witchcraft that dates back centuries. Three teen girls reignite their friendship through a high-energy plotline. It brings back key characters and highlights the importance of community and friendship. 

What’s The Final Verdict?

Aside from the rogue religious rant here and there about the unholiness of witchcraft (many of whom clearly never saw the original), the movie is getting high praise from fans everywhere. Critical acclaim, however, has been a little more difficult to come by. Rotten Tomatoes only rates it at 63%, and most of the negative reviews I have happened upon indicated the plot was too simple, but most sequels are mirrors of the original plotlines.

This one is more tongue-in-cheek, the characters and their personalities are so much more diverse, and the lessons to be learned echo louder than they ever have before. My personal social media feed was full of insanely positive reviews within the first 48 hours of release. This, in turn, convinced me to dig in quickly. 

Like the original, there was a lot of attention and care put into the soundtrack. While the Sanderson Sisters’ cover of “I Put a Spell On You” became a huge hit in the 90s, their entrance in this film is just as theatrical with their fun spin on Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back.” 

From thoughtful easter eggs to the inclusion of popular technology and skincare, the movie is truly delightful from beginning to end. It is available to watch on Disney+ now.