Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Best of 2015. (30/12/15)

It's that time of the year again when I put together the best songs from 2015 - obviously, these are what I enjoyed/think deserve a place in my Top 20, if you loved any other songs that you think should have made it in here, comment them below! The following are in no particular order and I honestly feel all songs mentioned in this list are worth a listen to, there's also three that didn't quite make the listen noted at the end. 

Hello - Adele

I feel this one doesn't really need much explanation, Adele made the biggest comeback to the music industry this year and this song got everyone hyped for '25'. The day the music video dropped I listened to the song near on 50 times, if not more and that continued for a week, then I got sick of it. However, the album soon came out and there were 10 other tracks to fall in love with. Well played Adele. 



Queen Of Peace - Florence + The Machine (Live at Glastonbury)

When Foo Fighters had to pull out of Glastonbury this year, there were mixed reactions about their replacement. However, Florence + The Machine smashed the stage as the headliners and did a fantastic job, the stage presence was phenomenal and they did themselves proud. 

Let It Go - James Bay

We were lucky enough to spotlight James Bay's debut album this year, and it still stands out as one of my favourites from 2015. Starting the year as the Brit Awards Critic's Choice and ending it with a highly successful debut album and just as popular and well known singles, he's done a pretty great job, I also saw James headline Barn On The Farm Festival, which stands out as a musical highlight from my year. 



Corona - Dutch Criminal Record

Dutch Criminal Record headlined and owned the stage at our first Music In Time Presents... event, they performed a perfect combination of originals and covers and did a fantastic job of getting the audience to sing and dance. Another big thank you to them, and all the best for 2016, hopefully you'll get to see even more of them in the new year!



Love Yourself - Justin Bieber

This is my favourite track from Justin Bieber's latest album 'Purpose', it's beautifully written by Bieber, Ed Sheeran and Benny Blanco, and performed just as wonderfully by Justin himself. I think it's fair to say a lot of people are leaving 2015 'Beliebers'... 

Let It All Go - Birdy & Rhodes (Live for Mahogany Sessions)

This session made me fall in love with 'Let It All Go'; it's a beautifully crafted song, performed by two wonderfully talented artists, Birdy and Rhodes. Lyrically and musically stunning, this song has stood out to me since this video went live, it's a personal musical highlight from 2015. 



Can't Feel My Face - The Weeknd

'Can't Feel My Face' is arguably one of the most popular tracks of the year, compared to the likes of Michael Jackson, was a Top 10 hit in 20 countries, and was nominated for two Grammys. One of the catchiest songs released this year, and one that was impossible to escape from, as well as 'The Hills' and a couple of others from his album 'Beauty Behind The Madness'...


The Wizard Of Ahhhs - Todrick Hall & Pentatonix
2015 was a big year for Todrick Hall too... 'Todrick' a docuseries following him premiered on MTV, he worked alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt on two videos, as well as many incredibly popular YouTube viral videos, including this reinvention of The Wizard Of Oz with Pentatonix (who have also had an incredibly successful year) and a mash up of Nicki Minaj songs put to the storylines of Disney characters... (which is also definitely worth a watch if you haven't seen it already!)



See You Again - Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth

'See You Again' was commissioned for the soundtrack of Furious 7, written in memory of Paul Walker, it peaked at #1 in the US Billboard Hot 100 for 12 consecutive weeks and also set loads of records. It's a beautiful song and one that I'm sure will be listened to for a few years to come... 


Lionheart - I.AM.L (Barn on the Farm Sessions)
One of my musical highlights was waking up on Sunday morning of Barn on the Farm to the soundcheck, and heading down for I.AM.L's set and falling in love with her sound. I had this song stuck in my head for a few weeks after and can't wait for any kind of release in the new year - please! 


Should've Been Us - Tori Kelly
This is a fantastic, upbeat, summery track, initially I wanted to include Tori's performance of this song at the VMA's, because it was out of this world and the others that she has done since haven't quite been the same. Enjoy... 


Happy Ending (cover) - Dodie, Zannah & Melanie
We've shared a lot of love for Dodie in particular over the past year, however this cover is probably one of my favourites from 2015. With Zannah and Melanie harmonising too, it's a stunning cover of a beautiful 'classic' by Mika. I'm looking forward to hearing more covers and originals from these three in 2016! 


Drag Me Down - One Direction
2015 was a sad year for One Direction and all of their followers. However, 'Drag Me Down' was the first release since Zayn's departure and was the first single from their latest album 'Made In The AM', it went down really well all around the world, including peaking at #1 in the UK Singles Chart. 2016 will see them go on hiatus, don't get too sad folks... 


5AM - Amber Run
Amber Run are a favourite of ours here at Music In Time Blog, we saw them live twice this year, and both times were fantastic. Their debut album was released this year, and this is the wonderful title track. This has been sung along to very loudly many times since the release and I will continue to do so for a very very long time. 


Hey Jude (cover) - Tyler Ward & Kurt Hugo Schneider
Kurt Hugo Schneider has started sharing covers of popular songs in a minor key and I'm in love with them. This is my favourite of all the ones they've done and to be honest I prefer this haunting twist to the original. There's a fantastic gritty guitar section just after half way through which is worth a listen out for too... 


Keep - The White Raven
Although (unfortunately), this is a pretty unheard of song, I think it's been a continuous favourite song of mine all the way through 2015 since it's release. I was lucky enough to do a feature with these guys, as well as being brilliant at what they do, I'm really looking forward to hearing the new material they've been working on in the past couple of months and hopefully an album soon? :) 


Eyes Shut - Years & Years (Live For VEVO)
Another band that have had a fantastic year, the British electronica trio started the year as BBC's Sound of 2015 and have gone on to win and be nominated for a load of awards, released their debut album 'Communion' and performed live for many TV shows, festivals and live dates. Here they are with my favourite live performance of my favourite single of theirs, 'Eyes Shut'. 


Fly - Meadowlark
Another stunning song that's even more powerful with it's accompanying music video. We've included both of Meadowlark's EPs in at least one blog since their releases and we're looking forward to their debut album, hopefully coming in the new year... I also got to see this fab duo twice this year, both times were brilliant and if you get a chance in the new year to see them live, make sure you don't miss out! 


Landslide - Oh Wonder
Unfortunately I didn't manage to get to one Oh Wonder's live dates (planning on seeing them on their next tour in 2016), but their self-titled debut album was my most played this year and so I feel it's compulsory to include them in this list, and have no obligations either! This is my favourite track from the release, lyrically emotive and musical brilliance; if you like this, you'll love the rest of the album too I'm sure! 


A Bridge Over You - The Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir
I felt it only right to include this in our Best of 2015, as it beat Justin Bieber and whatever the X Factor single was this year, to Christmas Number 1. It's a brilliant mash up of Simon & Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' and Coldplay's 'Fix You', it's the perfect heartwarming choir song for Christmas... 


3 Other Songs To Mention:
Chemical - Jack Garratt (link)
Blood - HVNTER (link)
What You Don't Do - Lianne La Havas (link)

Thank you to everyone that has supported/read Music In Time during 2015 and here's to (hopefully) even bigger and better things in 2016... 
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Monday, 28 December 2015

12 Albums of 2015. Pt. 2 (28/12/15)

The second half of '12 Albums of 2015' is here and jam packed with fantastic releases from the past year. There's a couple of EPs in here, as I felt they deserved a mention too and couldn't have missed them out... (albums are in release date order... and all download links can be found at the bottom of this blog post...)

Nowhere Near Old Enough - Chasing Grace

Release Date: 26th January
Genre: Indie Pop
Tracks: 12
Singles: Run

It wasn't really until I saw Chasing Grace at Barn On The Farm Festival that I really thought, 'Yes! I need to get their album', I loved 'Run' when I first heard it earlier in the year, but seeing their energy on stage and really enjoying their set at BOTF left the permanent note in my brain. It's turned into one of my most played albums of the year and I can see it being a favourite of 2016 too. 'Tonight' and 'Free' are also two songs that are a must listen to from the album!




Dual EP - Meadowlark
Release Date: 30th March
Genre: Alternative Folk
Tracks: 4

'Dual EP' is a beautiful four track release from Meadowlark, and I think steps ahead of their previous release 'Three Six Five' purely because of the depth the whole EP offers. Lyrically intense, emotive and honest and musically equally stunning. 'Fly' is easily my favourite track from this EP and the music video that accompanies it is just as beautiful. There is an acoustic version on the release too, which is just as great. The other two tracks 'Eyes Wide' and 'Fire' are also fantastic!




Carrie & Lowell - Sufjan Stevens
Release Date: 31st March
Genre: Indie Folk
Tracks: 11
Chart Performance: #6 (UK Albums) | #10 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Should Have Known Better

Yet another beautiful album to be released this year, comes from American singer-songwriter, Sufjan Stevens. 'Carrie and Lowell' is full of stunning songs, laced with calming vocals and chilled instrumentals lying underneath. Highlights from the album for me are 'Death With Dignity', 'Should Have Known Better' and 'Fourth Of July'


Wilder Mind - Mumford & Sons
Release Date: 4th May
Genre: Alternative/Indie Rock
Tracks: 12 | 16 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #1 (UK Albums) | #1 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Believe/The Wolf/Ditmas/Tompkins Square Park

I feel like I'm late to the party with this album, however it's really great from start to finish! A slight move away from their previous two albums, but still holds true to the Mumford sound. 'Wilder Mind' opens with the fantastic 'Tompkins Square Park', followed up by the better known single 'Believe' - yet another great track. 'Monster' is one of the stand out tracks to me, mainly lyrically, but the relaxed tone adds so much more to it too...


Blurryface - twenty one pilots
Release Date: 18th May
Genre: Alternative Pop
Tracks: 14
Chart Performance: #14 (UK Albums) | #1 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Fairly Local/Tear In My Heart/Stressed Out/Lane Boy

I never really listened to twenty one pilots before this album, apart from the odd times when one of my friends would play one of their songs. This release led me to reach back into all of their old albums and find some new favourite songs, as well as listen to 'Blurryface' over and over again, all the way through - it's pretty rare that I don't skip any songs at all... My three favourite tracks from this album are 'Heavydirtysoul', 'Ride' and 'Goner', but they were hard to pick so be sure to check out the rest too. 


Badlands - Halsey
Release Date: 28th August
Genre: Electro/synth Pop
Tracks: 11 | 16 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #9 (UK Albums) | #2 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Ghost/New Americana

I only got this album because of the huge hype around Halsey at the end of the Summer. Pushing the boundaries in more ways than one and being one of the big names in 2015's music summaries. This was the soundtrack to two 'road trips' at the end of my Summer and so it stands out as one of my favourite albums of 2015. 'Castle', 'Drive' and 'Control' are my favourites from the album... 


Oh Wonder - Oh Wonder
Release Date: 4th September
Genre: Electro/Synth Pop
Tracks: 15
Singles: Lose It/Livewire/Drive

Easily my favourite project and album of 2015. Anthony West and Josephine Vanders are the duo behind the wonderful, Oh Wonder. All the tracks on the album are brilliant, which leads the release to stand out as a whole on its own. 'Landslide' has been one of my favourite songs of the year, 'All We Do' has been on repeat on the nights I couldn't get to sleep, and 'Plans' is just an all-rounded beautiful song. 


Unbreakable Smile - Tori Kelly
Release Date: 16th October
Genre: Pop
Tracks: 14 | 17 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #2 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Nobody Love/Should've Been Us

2015 has been the year of Tori Kelly. Unfortunately, she isn't as well known over in the UK as she is in America, but this album has propelled her up the charts and boosted her music popularity too. Similar in sound to Ariana Grande - but in my opinion, a better sound as she stays true to what she'd like to release, which has resulted in an album full of fantastic tracks. The positivity bleeding through 'Unbreakable Smile' opens the album well, 'Expensive' offers a Christina Aguilera tint to the album there's also a powerhouse note that stands out from the whole album in the last minute of the track; and 'City Dove' is another lyrically powerful and musically fab song. 


Purpose - Justin Bieber
Release Date: 13th November
Genre: Pop
Tracks: 13 | 18 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #2 (UK Albums) | #1 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: What Do You Mean?/Sorry/Love Yourself

Another stand out star of 2015 is Justin Bieber - everyone is ending the year as a Belieber - right? There were many moments where I was in the car with the radio on, and either a friend or I would say 'Oooh, this is really good, who is it?'... 'Oh erm, I mean it's alright for the Biebs...' Well, although there are a couple of tracks that have been majorly overplayed on the radio, 'Love Yourself' is a beautiful song, helped by the fact Ed Sheeran wrote it, 'The Feeling' is another fantastic track featuring Halsey, and my favourite from the album 'I'll Show You'... 


25 - Adele
Release Date: 20th November
Genre: Pop / Soul
Tracks: 11
Chart Performance: Top 10 in 29 countries | #1 (UK Albums) | #1 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Hello

This was the comeback of the year. Adele absolutely smashed the second half of this year, whilst 'Hello' created a whole new world of memes and gave Lionel Richie someone else to talk to...  My top three from this one have to be 'Send My Love (To Your New Lover)', 'Remedy' and 'When We Were Younger'. Thank you again Adele for some new favourite songs to sing my heart out to... 


Blue Neighbourhood - Troye Sivan
Release Date: 4th December
Genre: Pop
Tracks: 10 | 16 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #7 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Wild/Talk Me Down/Youth

Troye Sivan has had a pretty big year too, and this album is full of brilliant pop songs. His EP 'Wild' served as a six song opening instalment to 'Blue Neighbourhood'. This album was created as a big project, an EP into an album, series of music videos with a running storyline throughout and lyric videos for each too. 'Wild', 'Ease' featuring Broods, and 'Youth' are my favourite three from this release. 


Zoo Of The New - Wolf Choir
Release Date: 6th December
Genre: Dream Pop/Indie Rock
Tracks: 4

Wolf Choir releases are always a highlight to Music In Time Blog's playlists, their previous EP went down really well all over the place and now their second and most recent EP 'Zoo Of The New' is just as brilliant! With four fantastic tracks, 'Helios', 'Number 7', 'So Much Blue, So Little Time' and 'Catharsis' (my personal favourite) it really is a short little treat for your ears! 

Zoo Of The New - Wolf Choir (link)

Download Links:
Nowhere Near Old Enough - Chasing Grace: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/nowhere-near-old-enough
Carrie & Lowell - Sufjan Stevens: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/carrie-lowell
Blurryface - twenty one pilots: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/blurryface
Zoo Of The New - Wolf Choir: http://wolfchoirband.bandcamp.com

Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Rewind #6 (09/12/15)

We're back again with another Rewind blog post, these are becoming a regular thing aren't they? Well, it's because our previously featured and spotlighted musicians are still creating fantastic music that we want to share with you and update you on... This blog post includes new tracks from musicians featured a while back to artists mentioned not that long ago... 

1. Roots - Billie Marten
It wasn't too long ago that we spotlighted 16 year old Billie's latest EP 'As Long As'; it's been a pretty busy month for her since. She recently released this live video of her new track 'Roots' (taken from her recent EP), recorded at her debut London show at Blue Flowers in September. Billie has also been nominated for BBC's Sound of 2016, which is an incredible feat. 



2. Moon / Sun - Bengal Lancers
In April 2014, we ran a feature with these wonderful guys, Charlie, Harry and Max. Now just over a year and a half later, they're back with these two new contrasting tracks. 'Moon' focuses on the tranquility and mystical elements of the moon, with stunning layered vocals and powerful drums. Whilst 'Sun' is a shorter track holding a lot more energy, with an upbeat summery feel and gritty guitar riffs, this would fit in with those indie pop / rock tracks that you get stuck in your head. I really love both these songs, and I'm pretty sure you will too. 



3. Illusions - Emi McDade
We featured Emi and her track 'Faith' earlier this year, but last month she released a new song, 'Illusions', with all digital proceeds being donated to BBC's Children In Need. It's another beautiful song featuring stunning vocals from Emi running over wonderful instrumentation, building into a really powerful song. A fantastic track which Emi's hoping to follow up with a debut EP next year! If you want to download the track you can do so from iTunes here. 


Illusions - Emi McDade (link)

4. Christmas Collection 2015 - Sleeping At Last
Sleeping At Last has been mentioned a fair bit in recent blog posts, but he's been super busy! As well as releasing his Atlas: Year Two project tracks regularly, this year he's also released a 15-track 'Christmas Collection', it's become tradition for Ryan to record a Christmas song and give it away for free each year, however this year that's snowballed into an album! It's full of stunning covers and originals and I don't know there's just something about his own twist he puts on songs that makes this a must! Although he's offering it for free, I believe it's worth tipping (100% of which goes to charity), more info and the album can be found at the link below :) 


5. Remedy - Mavrick
Another incredibly recent featured artist, Mavrick, has released a live session of his latest track 'Remedy'. It's a stunning stripped back and powerful version of the song, and I must admit I prefer this to the original, the rawness and emotion of the track really comes through in this session version... 


6. Marvel Superhero - Off The Wall
Off The Wall were featured a few months ago with one of their first tracks 'Red Face Tight', now they've released two new tracks, which will make up their first single release, with a release date still to be decided (we'll keep you posted on that...) However, for now here's two fantastic tracks, rocky, gritty, full of energy and reminiscent of Royal Blood...

7. Hold Your Head Up - GUN
'Hold Your Head Up' is the final single taken from GUN's album 'Frantic' - released earlier this year. The Scottish rockers round off the year with the release of a special box set and two epic live shows in Manchester and Glasgow this month. A massive well done to the guys for a fantastic year, enjoy this live video of 'Hold Your Head Up' from The Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow - 'the best live venue in the world'... 



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Monday, 7 December 2015

Spotlight: They Might Be Giants (07/12/15)


You've probably heard of the Brooklyn-based duo, They Might Be Giants, and if you don't recognise the name, I'm sure you'd recognise at least on of the tracks from their long and successful discography. Known for their Grammy-winning theme for Malcolm In The Middle, multiple live TV appearances on Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson, as well as the theme for Disney's Mickey Mouse Club House and Higglytown Heroes. They're coming to the end of an incredible year, releasing a new song (and video) every week through their Dial-a-Song project, releasing two albums - the latest being 'Why', an album for all the family - and touring non-stop, which will continue into the new year when they returned to the UK in January 2016... 

'Why' Album Review:
This album is full of character, and truly is a perfect album for all the family. With pop and rock flowing through each track, the creativity amongst each is wonderful, as well as the pocket-sized sound bites of optimism and pop brilliance. I'm a little bit in love with this album and for this to be their second album released this year they're really doing things right! Tracks you have to listen to include 'Omnicorn', 'And Mom and Kid' and 'Elephants'. 


See TMBG's Live:
27th Jan: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (SOLD OUT)
28th Jan: Riverside, Newcastle
30th Jan: Limelight 1, Belfast
31st Jan: Celtic Connections Festival (2 shows), Glasgow
1st Feb: Academy 2, Manchester
3rd Feb: Cambridge Junction, Cambridge
4th Feb: Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

They Might Be Giants' Links:
Dial-a-Song Project: http://dialasong.com

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Friday, 4 December 2015

Feature: The Revolutionary Spirit (04/12/15)

North Wales based four-piece band, The Revolutionary Spirit, formed in 2009 by vocalist / guitarist Josh Page and guitarist James Tindle. The pair spent a year writing and recording demo songs before recruiting James' brother Jared on bass guitar. The next couple of years saw various drummers come and go whilst playing live shows, self-released demos were released during this time as well as relating a one off single. The songs received repeated airplay on BBC Wales and led to the band recording a session with them in 2012. Shortly after, they found a permanent drummer in Greg Mitchell, with the line up solidified, the next year saw many gigs in and around the North West, Wales and London. Now in 2015, they've recorded a full length album, released a single on 7 inch vinyl, a short tour and now a four track EP entitled 'Barrowmore'... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
At an early age, whether it had been from our parents record collections, tapes in the car, radio stations hit, Top Of The Pops. To even choosing Jukebox tunes drinking with our mates, it's influenced us to pick up instruments to make music. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
We've all had great experiences, a special show was Sixto Rodriquez in Liverpool Philharmonic, shivers running through your spine as he played each song. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Song Of Innocence - David Axelrod
Feats Don't Fail Me Now - Little Feat
Black Sabbath Vol. 4 - Black Sabbath
Rock Of Ages - The Band
believe i'm goin down - Kurt Vile
Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys - Traffic

3 Qs for The Revolutionary Spirit:

1. How / why did your name 'The Revolutionary Spirit' come about?
It came from a MOJO Magazine mixtape CD, which is a song by The Wild Swans. We thought it was a unique name and stuck with it. Viva The Revolutionary Spirit. 

2. Is your usual songwriting process a collective effort or do you have individual roles within the band?
The writing process usually starts with a single idea form one of us, a guitar part, a baseline, organ. Then the song is written as a band from that point on so on the whole it's a collaborative effort. Although we're always open to new ways of writing songs. 

3. What is your favourite track from your EP 'Barrowmore' and why does it stand out to you?
We like them all but if we had to pick on it'd have to be 'Losing My Mind'. The space in the music compliments the song's lyrics and vocal melody. 

Random Q:

Ideal Friday night?
What comes before Part B?

'Losing My Mind' Review:
This is the lead single taken from The Revolutionary Spirit's EP 'Barrowmore' and it captures their sound perfectly. Wonderful instrumentation, with the gritty but groovy guitar and bass running alongside a steady drum beat. Vocally strong and lyrically honest and emotive, whilst managing to keep the energy in the track. If you like this track, you're bound to love the rest of the EP too. 


The Revolutionary Spirit's Links:
'Barrowmore EP' (Bandcamp): http://therevolutionaryspirit.bandcamp.com

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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Check It Out #10 (02/12/15)

1. Collide - MAASAI
This is my favourite track from MAASAI's debut album 'Feeling Blue Seeing Orange'. The Stockholm-based duo, Dominique Teymouri and Zackarias Ekelund, create soulful sonic landscapes with a cinematic touch. Beautifully honest lyrics, brilliant catchy chorus and wonderful instrumentation throughout. A genuinely fantastic track and stunning music video. 


2. Sax - Fleur East
'Sax' is the lead single from Fleur East's debut studio album 'Love, Sax and Flashbacks', set for release this Friday (4th December). After being announced as the runner-up in last years' series of X Factor, Fleur signed a recording contract with Syco Music a month or so later. Another classic example of the runner-up doing better than the winner, and with this single a product of that, I'm not complaining! Enjoy this punch of pop! 


3. Paper Plane - We The Wild
We The Wild unfortunately called it a day back in February, earlier this year. However, this song has made it onto many playlists of mine in the past week, and it just missed out on a space in the WILT blog post last week, so here it is. Genius alternative pop from Anthony West and Casey Roarty, and I'm pretty gutted they're not working together anymore, however Anthony is now part of pop duo, Oh Wonder (and we all know how much I like their debut album...) 


4. Sugar Pill - The Japanese House
Here's a taster of who will appear on our Sound Of 2016 list... The Japanese House are a fantastic electronica / indie pop band and this is a track from their recent release, 'Clean EP', which is well worth a listen. The soundscapes they create whilst incorporating influences from many different genres is impressive to say the least and it allows them to create a unique sound for their vocals to run smoothly over...


5. Happy Ending - Dodie, Zannah & Melanie
Dodie Clark is a favourite on Music In Time Blog, but she really has stepped up another level (didn't know that was possible...) This cover with Zannah and Melanie (also brilliant singer - songwriters) of Mika's 'Happy Ending' is incredible. The harmonies are phenomenal and it's so easy to get lost in it. I'm sure anyone and everyone will enjoy this one! 


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