On one of the most gorgeous nights of 2018 so far, Thursday, March 15th, P!nk regaled a massive crowd at Sprint Center in the heart of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Bursting into the room in her signature aerial acrobatic harness, she came swinging in from a chandelier to “Get This Party Started”, as if there were any better way to make a grand entrance. Decked out in so much glitter the audience probably should have been wearing sunglasses, she bounced right into “Beautiful Trauma” and then a little throwback rendition of “Just Like a Pill” for the loyal fans who have been around to enjoy her incredible career for the last two decades. There were a lot of them, as the event itself sold out so quickly that the arena had to open more seats on the side to accommodate her midwest fanbase.
Which is really no surprise, as this woman has been setting the world on fire – literally and figuratively, if you count the pyrotechnics during “Just Like Fire” – since she started back in the last 90s. With a flare for the most athletic endeavors, her stage performance has taken a turn from upbeat pop maneuvers, to an intense and beautifully artful experience, replete with Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics and bright, fun pops of color amidst glitter for days. Slowing it down for a soulful rendition of “Barbies” and “I Am Here” brought the crowd to their feet, belting out the lyrics with a fiery passion we haven’t witnessed at another show in quite some time. But not all the magic was found in the lyrics, though so relatable in so many ways.
But if ever our hearts stopped during a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, this was it. Dressed in a more grunged up look, the crowd went wild with her slightly more soulful vocals layered over those unmistakable guitar riffs and edgy flare.
P!nk incorporated her moving and incredibly heroic 2017 MTV VMAs acceptance speech into her set, bringing faces of every color, race, and ethnicity to the forefront in a little video that played while she was changing outfits. But the message hit very close to home, as we continue to deal with issues of sexism, racism, and other types of hatred. P!nk’s message is just as resounding as in tracks like “What About Us?” where she seems to call out people in power with her questioning, much like she did in 2011’s “Dear Mr. President”. And though she didn’t get to sing that song in particular, her rally cry could probably be heard for miles while thousands of women joined her in powerful, captivating song.
I personally got to enjoy the show with my mother and my sister, both of whom I have gone with to see P!nk’s previous shows. I will say it once and then say it a million times after, this woman knows how to impress. Not even for the sake of others, but you can tell she does this to prove everything to herself and to pave the way for other dreamers, which leaves little room to be disappointed in the work she does. We even got a treat this time, as the last show she came through held no encore goodness – Though, really, who is complaining? – with an exciting, Tinker Bell-esque performance of “So What” and “Glitter In The Air” before she disappeared into the night, most likely to get into a cuddle puddle with her adorable traveling family.
Keep up with P!nk here, and make sure to check out her Beautiful Trauma tour in a city near you!
…But, I did take a look afterwards, and a lot of these made OTHER top lists, so there! If you haven’t heard some of these, add them to a NYE playlist or sit at home and listen to them! They run the gamut when it comes to type, style, moods to listen in…heck, I even suggest wine with a whole album (whether that is 1 glass or 3 bottles…that is up to you)! Regardless, have a Happy New Year, and keep supporting music that means something as we move into 2018!
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
This was a close second to my most anticipated album of the year. This album tells a story, so for the best effect, listen to all the songs in order in one sitting! The way that Kendrick’s voice flows so naturally, it’s like it’s a narration to a deeper story, and this album is just the tip of the iceberg.
DNA – This is my favorite heavy lifting song, my favorite running song, my favorite tackle-the-challenge song…did I mention it’s my favorite? At first, “Humble” really had me hooked, but one listen to this, and it was over. And the video? One of my favorite EVER. It co-stars KC native, Don Cheadle (now, are you intrigued?)
P!NK – Beautiful Trauma
I was waiting for this one. For a VERY long time. And it just doesn’t disappoint. As P!NK has grown and changed over the years, you can very much hear that she is the same person that showed up – seemingly out of nowhere – back in 1997. Her power vocals remain the same, as does her knack for storytelling, but the stories change. This time around she tackles relationship woes, family life, and all those thoughts going on in her head – an open book, singing about all we wish to say. And I just want more!
Better Life – Hands down my favorite. Because, who doesn’t sometimes wonder if their significant other may want something different? And, somehow, she makes it catchy and thrilling!
I Am Here – A declaration that she is here, her voice is important, and she is not backing down for anything. A little nudge at permission for the rest of us to never let anyone silence us.
Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken – For those who might be a little overwhelmed or downtrodden, especially in our current political climate. Here is our rallying cry.
Miley Cyrus – Younger Now
Somehow, this slipped my radar when it released back in September, and I didn’t give it a listen until late November. Now, all I can think is: WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG? I am not, historically, a Cyrus fan, but she is finally coming into her own with a mix of country and pop that is not slippery sweet, but somehow raw and dreamy. And I wish there weren’t so few tracks!
Rainbowland – This one features Dolly Parton, and it DEFINITELY sounds like a more traditional Parton song…but it is positive and upbeat and makes you want to sleep forever and live in a damn Rainbowland – or maybe even try to make one of your own in real life!
Miss You So Much – This one is a bit on the stalker side, just without dark and creepy undertones. And it’s totally how I feel about my husband. I will just leave it at that.
Younger Now – The past handful of years of Cyrus’ life in a nutshell. She’s gone through a lot of changes and phases, and somehow has come out the other end feeling younger than she was then. I really resonate with it – maybe you can, too!
Harry Styles – Harry Styles
Harry Styles’ self-titled solo debut was my album of Summer 2017. Nothing I EVER thought I would say. Ever. There are no outright pop songs. Instead, Styles has chosen 10 tracks with melodies and instrumentation – even recording style – that calls back to Brit rockers of the1960s (think: Beatles, Rolling Stones). I know that may seem like high praise, but give it a listen. You will hear it. It’s not just the sound that has me turning this sucker up on an afternoon walk, evening drive, or even while I make breakfast in the morning, but lyrics that are a mix of fun, soulful, and a bit angsty.
Two Ghosts – This one is all about a love gone cold. How everything is the same as it always has been, but the passion and feelings that once were there have left the building. It’s something in between a break up and a love song, and it is heart-shattering.
Her. Voice. Is. HOLYSHIT. So soulful. So smooth, so powerful, so seemingly effortless. I truly have no other words. Give her album a listen. Especially her newest release, “Dream”.
Sam Smith – The Thrill of It All
I truly didn’t think that so much more emotion could come out of one person into an album, but with his sophomore album, I can FEEL more sadness as he sings. And, it doesn’t make me sad. It just makes me FEEL.
All I can say is that you need to grab a bottle (or two) of cabernet, draw a bath, and listen to the whole damn thing.
Lana Del Rey – Lust For Life
Does anyone remember Katy Perry’s recent album? Well, this did everything that Perry intended, and THEN some! Lana’s sultry voice lends itself to a story of awakening in our country’s current state, and somehow surviving it all – like every generation before us. These aren’t idyllic pop songs, but songs that make you feel a part of a bigger whole. And, with just a year and a half between her last release and this one, you KNOW it was spurred by current events.
God Bless America – And All The Beautiful Women In It – Hauntingly gorgeous.
When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing – MESSAGE: Don’t stop living when our country seems to be falling apart around you. Hopeful without being too idealistic.
Khalid – American Teen
In his debut album, Khalid let’s us know that he is fully aware of how disconnected and digital the life of an American teen has become. He doesn’t embrace it like – seemingly – every other young person. He rips it apart as he flows through each track. Though, I am sure many teenagers have held tight to this album as their anthem, it is a great one to give a listen no matter what you are doing if you want smooth vocals and music you can dance or relax to.
Kesha – Rainbow
It’s been awhile since we had a new Kesha album…and, to be honest, I was OK with that. Her previous music was NOT my jam. It should have been my college party soundtrack – and, trust me, I LOVE glitter – but I just couldn’t get behind Kesha. Now, I can. And it’s not just knowing her full story and struggles and the WHY behind it all. It’s also not just my feminist tendencies to support women who are into creating great things. Kesha is finally using her voice. Never have I been so happy when autotune is taken out of the equation. She can REALLY sing, and sing she does! Her album is a rallying cry for everyone who has felt like any part of their lives is a struggle. Every single song involves messages of independence and empowerment, whether they are set to ballads or party beats.
Bastards – …and this is just the FIRST song! Once you hear it, you will understand why the rest of the album is necessary listening!
Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
This is NOT what I was expecting from Tyler. But, why should I expect the same from someone who has always done what he wants, and sounds good doing it? This is a much more mellow album from one of my favorites, and it brings some heavy and big messages along with it. Also: please, if you choose to listen to this, appreciate the instrumentals as well! YESSSSS
Where this Flower Blooms – Ever feel different from everyone else? Or, confused because you don’t want to be “normal”? This song gives EVERYONE permission to do whatever the hell they want, no matter their age. Give it a listen…
Glitter – I love glitter. And this refers to someone feeling like glitter when they are around the person they love. Ka-ching!
Ed Sheeran – ÷
Every single Ed Sheeran album that comes out has about 5 years worth of “first dance” wedding songs on them. This one is no different…and this time he calls on his current romantic relationship as his muse! And, I like romantic songs as much as the next person – who isn’t currently going through a breakup – but those weren’t my favorites on the album! Watch the videos for the songs below and really listen to the lyrics…and dance along for the best experience!
Shape of You – I don’t care what I am doing, I drop EVERYTHING and groove to this one!
Castle on the Hill – Somehow he has made a freeing song that makes you feel like you are running across the hilltops of Ireland out of pure nostalgia. Mmmmm
Galway Girl – modern Irish jig based on his grandparents’ relationship. What more could you ask for?
Sza – CTRL
All I can really say about this one is: FINALLY. She says all the things you are thinkin’, girl, and puts some amazing music to it, too! You can FEEL the emotion in this one!
The Weekend – Ready to feel like the sexiest person in the room? Give this track a listen NOW!
Jay-Z – 4:44
At first, I thought this one was a cop out. Beyonce releases Lemonade, so Jay-Z feels the need to respond, right? But, then I thought, “Oh, wait, he needed to release something new.” And he does. And it’s personal and raw and real and a near masterpiece!
Favorite: Just listen to the whole thing. It only takes up 35 minutes of your time, and I don’t think any one song is as good as all of them together. Also: watch the videos if you can! Bey really challenged him to step up his game in the visual department, and it is paying off in dividends for fans!
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 3
Can I just take a moment to declare that 2017 has been FIRE for MOVEMENT? And, this album is a movement in itself to eradicate oppression and seek social justice for all. All delivered in a VERY listenable package with beats that would make your grandma shake it!
Call Ticketron – I don’t need to explain it. Trust and give it a try!
Thieves! (Screamed the Ghost) – In response to recent riots. Yet, not fuel for the fire, but definitely a soundtrack for the movement. There is a flow to it unlike any other
Hanson – Middle of Everywhere
Can you believe it’s been 25 years since the brother band, “Hanson”, decided they should form a band? To celebrate, they released an album with some new tracks, as well as oldies-but-goodies.
I Was Born – Here we have one of the new tracks. It’s a great, poppy, inspirational song written for the band’s kids. And the stars of the video? Their kids!
Broken Angel – Not a new one. But SO happy it’s getting a little spotlight being featured on this album! It features the youngest, Zac, on vocals. And his voice is so smooth and soulful, you will wonder if you are actually listening to the same band!
Bleachers – Gone Now
This sucker opened to mixed reviews. But, I loved it from the first time I heard it through live, and it has since become a very nostalgia and dance-filled experience for me. Sounds from decades before and inspired by many musicians – including Springsteen – I can’t help but feel Jack Antonoff’s reaching for the stars and sharing the span of his life in music on one album, with the album title referring to past him being gone now. Feel it with me, and take a listen!
Everybody Lost Somebody – It is the early 90s anthem for us NOW. Bringing humans together around the idea that everyone has felt pain, and everybody has lost somebody. Doesn’t hurt that you can also dance to it!
Moon – Hang On EP
The best EP that most people haven’t heard made my list because, well, they are BADASS. The lead vocalist, Chelsea Davis, adds power to the words while also somehow drumming simultaneously. Seeing them live is a necessity, so that you can feel it while listening to the EP.
I Got a Fever – Sensual power and soul wrapped into one song.
In August, Los Angeles-based pop singer/songwriter JADE released her debut EP to critical acclaim. Featuring the beautiful singles “Find A Place” and “Wait For Me” alongside seven more incredibly produced tracks – including our personal favorite “Won’t The Rain Come Soon” – the made quite the impression, floating her ethereal vocals effortlessly over both acoustic and more electronically-driven tracks.
If you haven’t gotten a chance to listen to the flawless lines on PINK, check it out below and then read on for a fun little interview JADE did with us recently!
What is the first song or album you ever remember hearing, and who introduced it to you?
I think the first artists I had been introduced to were Bryan Adams and Michelle Branch. My dad would always play their music in the car or throughout the house.
Was there a moment that it struck you and you realized you were going to pursue music, or did it kind of slowly evolve?
It slowly evolved. I liked to play the “famous game” as kids with my friends; we were big time celebrities and we would try to write songs and preform them to each other. Eventually, I started doing it on my own. It went from being a game, to a hobby, to a lifestyle.
You have such a – dare we say it? – unique voice. It’s raspy and delicate at the same time, ethereal almost. Did that come naturally, were there vocal lessons involved?
Thank you! I did take voice lessons to help control my pitch and my breath. But my style of singing has evolved through listening to other artists and realizing certain words and phrases are easier to sing depending on how you pronounce them. A lot of muscle memory!
Your album PINK has been out for a minute, and it’s an absolute gem of a release. If you could sum it up for us and say your album is a Thanksgiving dish, which one would it be and why?
If my album were a Thanksgiving dish, it would be green bean casserole. People like it and it’s important, but there are bigger and better things to come!
“Wait For Me” was, of course, a beautiful single to release leading up to dropping PINK. But we are absolutely enamored by “Won’t The Rain Come Soon”. What specifically inspired it, if you don’t mind us asking?
Thank you, WTRCS is one of my favorites. It’s about the different struggles you go through in different periods of your life and wondering when you’re gonna get a fresh new start to something that can be better.
What was studio life like? Immerse us in the experience!
It can be very long days. Sometimes up to 13 hours. No snacks, but we usually order Uber Eats so we can stay on task! A lot of water and caffeine for everyone. Sometimes we’re all really pissed off because something isn’t working how we want it, so we’re all keeping to ourselves or feeling kinda low. But then two hours later we’re jumping up and down screaming along with the lyrics, talking about how we’re gonna take over the world. It’s a unique experience that I wish everyone could try it!
Do you have a favorite song or favorite song to perform, whether it is your own or someone else’s?
Off of PINK I think “Sorry” is my favorite! Off the next album we’re writing, there’s a lot of really fun songs that I can’t wait to preform. I also love to sing “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I can’t wait for this new album that I’m currently working on to come out! It’s emotional, fun to move to, has songs that will get stuck in your head, and is more mature sounding. Every song is a bop. 2018 will be a good year!
is out now
. Keep an eye out for new music from JADE right here