As one of the few (at least few I can name) bands of the modern age to have a career lasting more than a decade, Maroon 5 were once the dominant force in pop-rock charts around the world and now, they’re back to try and reassert said dominance with their sixth album Red Pill Blues.

There’s a glint of humour to Levine’s voice on opening number “Best 4 U” which makes the vocal seemingly shimmer on a track that’s as catchy as it is lyrically simplistic – (very). Follow up “What Lovers Do” featuring SZA, fares batter, upping the tempo somewhat and bringing back that almost infamous Levine falsetto that made the band so noteworthy back in their heyday.

“Wait” adds an R’n’B vibe to proceedings, something which doesn’t quite fit with the bands’ usual sound, but they should be commended for experimenting at a time when many of their artistic counterparts refuse to do so. “Lips On You” slows things right down, which is a shame as it disrupts the albums’ rhythm up to this point, however it does allow Levine’s vocal to take centre stage without distraction caused by guitars and a thumping drum beat. Nevertheless, it is the album’s weak point thus far.

“Bet My Heart” picks things up somewhat, certainly in terms of the tempo, although the track is far from anything special, while Julia Michaels’ guest vocal on “Help Me Out” is the best thing about the track and makes the song worthy of repeat listens and of its status as a current single. “Who I Am” meanwhile has a toe-tapping rhythm which is enjoyable enough, but its lyrically basic enough to have been written by a pre-teen.

A$AP Rocky’s appearance on “Whiskey” doesn’t fit with Maroon 5’s style or the album they’re unveiling to those who listen to it and so his vocal talent is lost among lyrics that make little to no sense such as “she kissed me like a whiskey.” That part of the song is memorable, but sadly for all the wrong reasons. “Girls Like You” is only marginally better, helped by its considerable club feel which “Closure” attempts to recreate, but it’s “Denim Jacket” that returns the album to somewhat stronger and more stable ground, and brings back Levine’s (much missed at this point) falsetto, before “Visions” injects a rather reggae twist to proceedings, although, despite being so different to anything else featured so far, works rather well.

It’s a shame therefore that “Plastic Rose” undoes most of the hard work delivered by its two predecessors, but the ‘mistake’ is rectified somewhat by the arrival of 2016 ‘s lead single “Don’t Wanna Know”, featuring Kendrick Lamar, although the song would work perfectly well without his input.

Closing with “Cold” which features Future, the collection ends on a surprisingly positive note as the instrumentation and vocal blend impressively well and while the album is no modern-day classic a la Songs About Jane, and is certainly more experimental, notably thanks to Levine and THAT vocal ability, Red Pill Blues certainly won’t see Maroon 5 fade into obscurity any time soon.

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Championed by Rolling Stone last year and named one of their ‘Ten New Country Artists You Need To Know’, Emily Faye’s passion for music stretches far beyond the short time she’s been in the spotlight as a star in her own right. Having gone from writing songs in her bedroom and studying at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute, she’s now released her debut EP called Here I Am.

Opening with “Open Road”, the collection gets off to a great and upbeat start, thanks to Faye’s soft, almost innocent vocal perfectly being perfectly paired with a toe-tapping country rhythm. “Giving In” is much slower, but maintains the EP’s focus on Faye’s vocal talents as she delivers the tracks’ strong, emotive lyrics that hold a a hint of defiance and rebellion in them.

“Game Over” is the kind of track that deserves to be played when listeners are taking a summer’s day drive with their friends. There’s an unmistakable ‘freedom and exploration’ vibe to the song – a perfect accompaniment to the upcoming summer break – that is sure to have the piece put on repeat.

Written about being comfortable with someone; a boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, or friend, who loves you for you, no matter what, there’s a reflective, deeply emotive and connective feel to closing number “Me For Me”, and as someone who has always struggled with self-confidence, the song reminded me that I have people in my life who wouldn’t and don’t want me to change who or how I am.

The EP as a whole has a very almost old-school, traditional feel to it, making it stand out from the many other releases of recent weeks and months that have focused more on the modern music styles which dominate the charts and the industry in general. The collection is a fantastic introduction to one of the hottest names in country music right now and will certainly have fans eager to see where Emily Faye goes and what she creates with her talent next.


As summer approaches and the festival season slowly gets into full-swing, one of the hottest upcoming events is the second annual Ibiza Burlesque festival, which takes place Friday 25th – Sunday 27th May.

Founded by singer-songwriter Sapphira, who has found the music of the white isle a lifeline during her struggles with bipolar, this years’ event, organised by the globally established company Sapphira’s Showgirls which champions self-expression and fundraises in support of mental health, includes a tribute of her debut single Money$hot as well as a special guest appearance by Billboard Top 20 and Grammy Award winning artist, Kim Cameron with DJ Halo.

Other highlights of the festival include performances from several world class artists, hailing from seven different countries, with Innocence Bliss and Jamilia Wardknott, both from the UK, and Italy’s Scarlet Lovelace among those confirmed to entertain those in attendance. There’s also a swimwear parade, a couple of pool parties and, if you fancy learning a little bit of burlesque yourself, you can take a beginner class in Sex A Peel with Sheila Starr Siani or Fantastic Fans with Sapphira.

The festival works in partnership with premium venues on the island, with the premier event – the Bass & Tease gala – taking place at the distinguished Heart Ibiza, a state-of-the-art restaurant come nightclub. From the first day to the last, the festival is set to delight and excite all those who attend.

For a full programme of events and to purchase tickets, visit the festival website.