Friday, December 11, 2015

Album Review: 'Arigato Internet' -indeed!

12 Shades of Reese: Arigato Internet comes with 12 beautiful photos of Reese Lansangan.

Do you still have a hangover from that awesome album launch last Sunday? I know I do! 

So how do you cure a hangover like that? Aside from blogging about the event the next thing is (drum roll please) album review! 

In a recent post, Reese thanked the 500+ people who attended the launch she also shared that they actually 'ran out' of albums on that day! (Clutches my copy closer) I don't think I've ever heard of an album launch actually running out of albums on the launch. Just goes to show the support for this singer-songwriter and the thirst for good music. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, we've been following Reese Lansangan since 2013. We know that she is a crazy, talented singer-songwriter. Her songs are written and performed with a guitar accompaniment, sometimes it's a Ukelele. We've seen her use effects and delays during her live performance but how was all of this going to reflect in the album? Was it going to be an entire album of songs accompanied only with a guitar or a ukelele at times? 

The age of the Internet has given birth to YouTube stars, such as Reese, who has gained a large following on her different social media platforms but will all these be enough for her to put out a full length album? I admire that Reese is as independent as it can get with her music and career. She has no record label behind her and is not working with any producer or industry expert in her album. As far as we can tell, it's just Reese and her a handful of musician friends who are behind the eponymous Arigato Internet.

When I first found out that the album was for P400.00 and I saw the packaging, I thought "Wow! Packiing palang sulit na!" I believe that in trying to keep the physical album alive in an age of digital downloads and streaming apps like Spotify, it's important to create a physical packaging and layout that will make fans want to have a copy of the album. As someone who belongs to that group who still values physical album copies (I have a modest collection at home) I was really impressed by how unique the packaging and layout of the album was; it was a thick clear plastic which was sewn on the edges that came with 12 different beautiful photos of Reese, that had lyrics written on the back. With this concept, album owners would be able to change the design (or jacket) of their album to a featured photo and with 12 covers the chances of you having the same design with someone is one out of twelve and you can also change it up whenever you want! It seems that with Reese's unique personality she also somehow passed this on to those who got a copy of her album. 

Being a fan of Japanese Culture (except the food) Reese loved the idea of Japanese characters appearing on her album, thus 'Arigato Internet'.

For some time now, the quirky Lansangan has teased her fans and followers of photos of her in the studio, working with a handful of fellow local musicians, most of whose music we already follow.

The album is made up of 9 tracks with 2 bonus tracks (See! More bang for your buck!) and starts with Exploration No. 5 which is classic Reese, her raspy, blues-inspired voice accompanied by a Ukelele, guitar and percussion. The next track is the much-talked about and super song Grammar Nazi, which paints a hilarious picture of liking a boy but who doesn't like books and 'couldn't spell right at all' (he says 'stuffs' so yes- run away) English Teacher Reese teaches some common grammar mistakes and even does a rap break in the song (yes- she sings and she raps!)

Recommended for English Teachers and even ESL Trainers to share/analyze and study with their students and trainees. It's fun and you get to learn a lot too!

Track 3 is the stalker-ish song Creeper, which with the upright bass makes it the perfect song for stalking-err 'watching behind the bush'. Code of Kin is a beautiful song, that I think of as a lullaby to your sister who may be feeling a little down and needs a little inspiration, I think it would be a great fit in a movie soundtrack :) There is a subtle use of a cello and keys and sythns which adds to the lullaby feel.. Track 5 - Slick is a cautionary tale of those guys you have to be careful of, Reese sings:

'Don't you let him get to you alone 
He's got a knack for smelling desperation

And he'll lead you to your bed tonight
It's hard to say no to those eyes' 

The story of this song, just shows the wide themes that Reese writes and sings about, it's not all about love and being hurt, it's about actual (kinds of) people too.

Bleed is actually one of my favorite tracks in the album, in here we see Reese grow from her comfort zone of just playing accompanied by a guitar and/or a ukelele. In Bleed we hear her sing with guitars, drums, keys and a bass. It's an entire band and it just shows that Lansangan is where she is supposed to be. Creating music, recording it and sharing it to an audience that deserves more than over rated cover artists.

A Song About Space is classic Reese, which showcases her quirky yet fun attitude and this reflects on her songs as well. Who would think that a song about planets and space would be so fun?! The added keys and synths makes it a cute song that both adults and children will enjoy.

Recommended for Science teachers/Pre-School Teachers who want to add a little spark to their lesson. :)

Autopilot is a fun and upbeat take on Reese with her full band.

St. Petersburg is technically the last song in the album (not counting the bonus tracks) and it steadily goes back to basic Reese with her guitars and a subtle addition of keys. It's a beautiful song about self discovery and travelling. The ultimate #Wanderlust song.

The Bonus Tracks are a live recording session, where we hear the chatter of Reese and her band before the actual recording.

On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink the first of two bonus tracks in the album is another showcase of how talented Reese is as a songwriter, I mean who would have thought of writing a song about a movie, a teen comedy ('Mean Girls') no less?!

The song is infectious I find myself singing out loud:

Janis Ian, Dyke 
Diving in a sea of lesbians  

-the song of course makes me want to watch the movie again.

 Go Online is another live recording of Reese alone on her ukelele and I see this as coming into full circle, as the listener is once again presented with how Reese started. Just her, her witty, quirky and smart lyrics, accompanied by a guitar or a ukelele is enough to make you a believer. 

I love this song, the lyrics are just so true and reflects the young millenial as they: 

"-my browsers are wide open
Are you even online?
Hoping for a green dot
Beside your name"

She then begs in her raspy-bluesy voice: 

"Won't you ple-eeease go online?" 

"I could wait on you my whole life 
But I'd rather sit right next to you tonight" 

Those lyrics paint a real picture that almost anyone can relate to - it's genius really. 

Arigato Internet is Reese's homage to a platform that has allowed her to share her music to anyone who would be curious enough to listen and as an album encompasses Lansangan's journey as a truly talented singer-songwriter in a market where cover artists, 'birit' queens and female-fronted bands make up most of the female artists in the industry.

Her wit, talent and unique flavor resounds in her album which is composed of different gems of songs, each one possessing their own story and image yet are all tied in together by that one-of-a-kind Reese Lansangan feel which is refreshing to the ears and a light of hope for Original Pinoy Music.    

From Reese with Love

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