Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Light Up the Night ~ Jess Moskaluke: Media Mondays (2)

Rating: 6/10
Artist: Jessica "Jess" Moskaluke 
Genre: Country/Pop Crossover
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Labe: MDM Recordings
Track Count: 10
Source: Spotify

Disclaimer: All images (except for the ink jar rating) belong to Jess Moskaluke.

Track Listing:
1. Good Lovin'
2. Cheap Wine and Cigarettes
3. Used
4. Light Up the Night
5. Strong As It's Ever Been feat. Bobby Wills
6. Show You Crazy
7. Night We Won't Forget
8. Never Better
9. No Show
10. When He's Drunk

The first point I would like to make is that I am in no way a "professional" music reviewer. Well, I'm not a "professional" book reviewer either, but while I have experience with books, I am just starting to branch out into music. The reason I am telling you this is because it took me a LONG time to develop a book review format, and I'm still tweaking it, so music review formats will be a little shaky until I get up on my feet. Because we all know that if I try to sound like a real music reviewer, I will just sound like a preschooler trying too hard.

Overall Thoughts: I have to admit, I am slightly disappointed with "Light Up the Night." I expected it to be a lot more like her EP "Catch Me If You Can," which was extremely diverse, covering pop, country, rock, ballads, dance songs, and empowering singles. Instead, my ears got a lot more country/pop crossover. I could have lived with that, but what really disappointed me were the types of songs. When I first listened to her album, I thought they sounded.... almost all the same. Of course, after multiple listens and analysis from yours truly, I determined that there were subtle differences and fluctuations in tone and style, but they were still too similar. An artist can do so much with a 10 song LP, they can have a few 'sad' songs that turn into (somewhat teary) love ballads such as "Hardest Day,"  go-get em songs that inspire people like "Catch Me If You Can," and ones you just want to get up and dance to like "Amen Hallelujah."

Yet.... I don't want you think I disliked the album, there were some really good gems in there, and songs a lot of people can enjoy. My problem was that it didn't live up to my personal expectations, but I hope this doesn't deter you from listening because for a first time listener, and lover of her covers, it's a great album.

Cover Art 6/10: It's simple and sweet. Jess Moskaluke is on the cover, with a reversed picture that had been released as part of a photo shoot (that was probably done to obtain the photo for the album's cover -it's just a guess), and a pretty background of lights, that have to do with the album's title (I could be totally wrong with this) "Light Up the Night."

Title 7/10: Usually the title of an album is the first single released from an album, or what the artist/managing team/whoever makes these executive decisions think will be the "it" song from the album -such as "Blown Away" from Carrie Underwood's newest album. Or, the title will have seemingly nothing to do with the album itself until fans go onto YouTube to see the interview segment where the artist explains its meaning -like "Based on a True Story" by Blake Shelton. Or the title is a single line from a song on the album -kind of like "Same Trailer Different Park" from Kacey Musgraves's most current album.

I however, don't think that "Light Up the Night" was the best choice for Jess Moskaluke's album. Her debut single off of "Light Up the Night" was "Good Lovin'" and by far the best track on the entire album. While not the most ideal, "Good Lovin'" definitely is a plausible option for her album. I also think that a line from one of the songs would have been nice as well because there are some really meaningful lyrics on the album. Nevertheless, "Light Up the Night" gives off a really fun and flirty kind of vibe, perfect for the upcoming summer months, and it might be her new single. 

Favorite Track: Strong As It's Ever Been ---

"A bunch of torn up letters in the trash with a dried up pen,
Empty bottle of wine and these four walls cavin in,
The moonlight shinin just as strong as it's ever been,
Just like this love.... is as pure as it ever was,
Stead as a father's hand, 
Warm as the Summer sun,
True as a Sunday in,
But you left me in an empty nest,
Gone like the midnight wind,
and this heartbreak i'm left with.... is as strong as it's ever been"

I personally, really enjoy this particular song because it is the only duet on the entire album (sang with Bobby Wills), and truly gives off the country vibe. It tells the story of a couple that has definitely had their ups and downs in their relationship, and is currently on one of their down moments. Yet, I have a feeling that if this was an actual story, that they would call each other any day, have one of those pick-her-up-and-spin-around moments found in movies because they truly love each other. I could be totally and completely off, but that is my perception. Overall, this is the definition of a classic country song, and the reason why I know that is because I was able to come up with that long backstory to accompany it.

Least Favorite Track: Light Up the Night
"Layin on a blanket of cool spring grass,
Listenin to the sound of the riverbank pass,
Chasin the stars while the river sings a love song,
Rubbin toes in our bare feet, while I'm feelin that rhythm of your heart beat....
got me thinkin I was shinin, who needs the sun at dawn?
And ooooh, oooh, baby we light up the night, light up the night. "
This is going to sound a little ridiculous from me, but this song was too mellow. I know I was complaining about the absence of ballads, and how I wanted more slow, sad songs, but I just dislike this particular one. It isn't the lyrics, they're actually quite creative, I just dislike the general sound from the various instruments. The song seems like almost anything you would hear on the radio, and I always used to think that Jess Moskaluke songs had some "it" quality about them that could make practically anything she released, a number one hit.

Honorable Mentions:  Never Better ---
"People call, people text,
Where've I been? What comes next?
Am I finally over you? 
Have I found somebody new?
Force a smile on my face, 
I don't know what to say,
When they ask if I'm okay,
I don't wanna lie,
I keep the hurt inside,
So I just tell them never better,
Cause anywhere I go, no matter what I do,
The truth is that I'm never better,
Than I was.... when I was.... with you,"

I enjoy this track a lot because it has a country feel to it with the lyrics, but a total rocker style that I can imagine Jess dancing to in her signature stilettos. It's basically about a bad break up, where a girl is still hanging onto her feeling for this guy, and is really struggling to get over him, so she just tells people that call and text (get it?) that she's never better. Like I said with Strong As It's Ever Been, this is my perception, and I could be sooo off.

Conclusion: Even though I was slightly disappointed with Moskaluke's sophomore release, I think that everyone will be able to find one of their new favorite songs.

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