CallMeKarizma’s “Emo”

“I talked to God to see if I’m the only one like this and/He said, ‘Oh kid, I got some bigger problems to fix'”

CallMeKarizma LLC, (c) 2017

Minnesotan rapper and singer Morgan Francis Parriott, more widely known by his stage name CallMeKarizma (or Riz for short), dropped his latest self-released EP Emo on February 24th, and it is a beautiful but heartbreaking piece of art with influences from indie, alternative, and hip-hop music. The songs are catchy, and the lyrics are painstakingly relatable, acting as a sort of catharsis that allows the listener to lament his or her imperfections and alienation, which ultimately leads us to realize that we are in fact far from being alone in the misery of our mistakes. Continue reading “CallMeKarizma’s “Emo””

Waterparks’ Double Dare

Perfect poppy pop-punk that is self-aware of the genre and reinvigorates it

Double Dare, Equal Vision Records (c) 2016

Pop-punk: it’s a bit of a contradiction in and of itself. Pop music is made for the masses, while punk music rejects the mainstream and conformity, yet the genre of pop-punk exists and has indeed developed over time. The most recent wave of mainstream pop-punk occurred in the early- to mid-2000s with bands like Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, Paramore, All Time Low, and even blink-182 and Green Day. Some of these bands were also influenced by emo, and their popularity helped to define this new kind of pop-punk. However, it was ultimately a trend that oversaturated the market and died out by the late-2000s. The pop-punk community never ceased to exist, and there are still plenty of exciting bands, but everybody is still waiting for (or trying to be) the group to bring the genre back into the spotlight, and Waterparks could very well be that group.Their debut from Equal Vision Records, Double Dare, is one of my three favorite albums of 2016; its diversity makes it accessible to a wide audience, and the band’s clever wordplay is always entertaining, often disarming, and actually definitive of the idea of “punk.” Continue reading “Waterparks’ Double Dare”

Jon Bellion’s The Human Condition

A modern pop masterpiece that is strikingly honest

Jon Bellion’s The Human Condition, released on June 10 from Capitol Records, is a vibrant and colorful pop record that is disarming in how brutally honest it is. Bellion offers commentary on individualism as defined by consumerism, acknowledges his struggle to unquestionably trust in God, and continuously reflects on his loneliness, success, and self-worth. He paints vivid images with his clever and sometimes unsettling lyricism, but all of this is presented through ridiculously catchy pop songs. Yet it must be noted that this album sounds nothing like the current pop landscape; Bellion is a master of space, and his music leans more towards pop-rock than EDM. Overall, this was one of my favorite albums of 2016, and the texture and emotion behind the music demonstrates that Bellion is a refreshing tour de force to be taken seriously.  Continue reading “Jon Bellion’s The Human Condition”