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2Q 2016: A Musical Retrospective

It's been a minute...to put it mildly. 

For those of you don't know me personally (or follow me on Twitter), my dayjob role has expanded to include now becoming a Buyer at a prominent beauty and hair retailer here in New York City. It's no excuse but it has certainly added to the reason there's been radio silence here at Melismatic.

So what have I been up to (read: listening to) since March? Let's fill in the gap...

RIP Christina Grimmie

I was left speechless this morning when I heard the news that 22 year old vocalist Christina Grimmie was shot and killed during a fan meet & greet in Orlando last night by an anonymous gunman. The news was selfishly all the more bewildering to me because I saw Christina perform live just a few months ago when she opened for Rachel Platten at Irving Plaza.

Words can't express how awful this is. Yet another example of why both mental illness and senseless gun violence are such important topics in need of evaluation and response beyond angry debates on social media. Considering this is an election year, there's never been a more poignant time to let your voice be heard. It's a scary world we're living in.

Regardless of circumstance surrounding this terrible situation, none of this should have happened. None of it. And now the world is left a little bit dimmer without a shining talent still in the early stages of what could have been.

Add to this that -- not unlike the multitude of shootings happening at schools -- this situation, coupled with the recent shooting and death at the aforementioned Irving Plaza backstage during a T.I. concert, proves a terrifying point about the American people so many just don't want to acknolwedge. We as Americans are much too comfortable with this type of story. We're all so keen to just brush it off as "how sad" and feel safe in removing ourselves from the reality and the gravity of truth. Instead, we turn it into a fiery devolution of emotion, using hindsight to offer platitudes and excuses, saying "there should have been more security" or "the shooter should have sought help."

The reality is this happened and it shouldn't have happened. A concert is meant for entertainment. Period. How many people have to die or be permanently scarred by this for things to change? Why are we as Americans so married to this perceived "right" to weapons?

Anger aside: Christina, thank you for the music.

On a lighter note -- posts will resume to MelismaticBlog.com shortly.

LIVE FROM NEW YORK: Rachel Platten + Christina Grimmie at Irving Plaza

The Wildfire Tour: (l to r) Eric Hutchinson, Rachel Platten, Christina Grimmie
A night of positive-vibes and lyrical feels, indeed. That is how to best sum up Rachel Platten's WILDFIRE Tour.

My excitement over Rachel Platten kind of took me by surprise, to be honest. I loved the empowerment directive behind "Fight Song" just as much as everyone else -- a true little "single that could" with a positive message that didn't feel forced. It was more because Platten herself is no spring chicken or overnight success. She's been working the live music beat even here in New York for years, playing shows relentlessly, first releasing music independently back in 2003(!) before getting her big break and signing on with Columbia Records. Her battlecry to be heard ("This is My Fight Song!") and tireless pursuit of her dreams is the epitome of inspiring, no matter who you are.

FRESH OUT THE BOX: Cardiknox, King, Icona Pop, Missy Elliot, Sigala, Walk the Moon

February flew by, now didn't it? March will mark the end of Q1 and we've already got a full selection of bangers and potential advocates for Best Album of 2016. Not too shabby. Click to the cut to read more about (some) of the tunes I've been jamming to this February.

FRESH OUT THE BOX: Foxes, Majid Jordan, St. Lucia, Sia, Zendaya, Grease! Live!, & More

The past three #NewMusicFridays have offered up some stellar stuff, including four albums I'm putting on my list as 'The Best of 2016 (So Far)'. That's some big shoes to fill. Last week saw an important anniversary in Janet Jackson's Control turning 30 (so make sure you do your homework and listen to the whole record). Also, if you didn't watch Grease! Live! on FOX (aka Vanessa Hudgens real star-making moment), you were missing out.

Read on for all the tea in terms of what I've been listening to for the past three weeks.
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