Cut Through The Noise: Meghan Trainor ft. Lennon Stella and Sasha Sloan, Panic! At The Disco, HRVY


Illustration by Isaac Wert

Samantha Klepfer

Welcome to “Cut Through the Noise,” an entertainment column from the St. Louis Park Echo covering new music releases. Every week, a different Echo staffer takes on the role as writer, reviewing recent single releases from a variety of artists.

‘Workin’ On It’ – Meghan Trainor ft. Lennon Stella, Sasha Sloan ★★★★☆ 

Fair use from Epic Records

Meghan Trainor’s “Workin’ On It” breaks from her usual in-your-face style for something more subtle. The song opens with a pleasant guitar riff and a relaxed feel. This leads into the overall positive message the lyrics convey throughout the rest of the song. Lennon Stella, Sasha Sloan and Trainor’s voices complement each other nicely. The melody is pretty, though not entirely generic. The song has the ability to make use of three-part harmony due to the three singers on the track, which is huge because it allows for so much more creativity and variety than most pop songs. The harmonies distinguish the song from others like it and also gives the singers moments to shine as well as moments to support each other vocally. Though the song appears to have a more depressing theme at the beginning, the overall story the lyrics convey is one of hope and positivity, specifically related to self-esteem, something everyone could use a little more of. The lyrics are well-written and add to the quality of the music.

‘Into The Unknown’ – Panic! At The Disco ★★★★☆

Fair use from Walt Disney Records

One of the newest installments of music brought to us by the “Frozen” franchise, “Into The Unknown” brings a unique feel to the Disney music catalogue. The song has a distinct stadium-rock feel, a style rarely seen in animated Disney movies. This less common format allows the track to stand out from the very first bars. Brendon Urie’s voice is able to truly shine in many parts of the song, a testament to the songwriting behind the piece, as well as Urie’s vocal ability. The song is almost sung like it’s from a musical, giving it another piece of uniqueness and distinguishing the track further from others like it. The piece is the result of a perfect combination of Panic! At The Disco’s rock and roll roots and edginess combined with Disney’s style of wonder and magic. The beat is distinctive and strong, complementing the lighter, sweeter melody during parts of the song. Though the lyrics primarily describe feelings of uncertainty, the overall vibe of the music is confident, especially during the chorus. The piece has a great variety of styles even within itself from the verses, to the chorus, to the bridge. Though obviously not a masterpiece like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the song does have elements reminiscent of the style Queen employed in their megahit. For a Disney song, “Into the Unknown” by Panic! At The Disco is surprisingly gritty and unique and sets the mood for a great adventure. 

Fair use from Virgin EMI Records

‘Million Ways’ – HRVY ★★☆☆☆

“Million Ways” by HRVY is a boring piece of music, barely distinguishable from any other pop song with a male solo artist. The vocals are sub-par at best; HRVY attempts to use falsetto abundantly to the detriment of the music. His falsetto is weak and doesn’t fit well with the rest of the song or even with the use of his full voice. The chorus is dull and lacks any originality. The lyrics are basic, using the metaphor “drowning in a sea of regret” and continuously using the word “milly” — instead of million — unironically which, though not necessarily a bad thing, speaks to the lack of time, effort and thought put into the lyrics. However, the beat is decent and adds a nice element to the rest of the music. HRVY employs vocoder liberally, which ends up being both good and bad. Vocoders are devices that synthesise singers’ voices and can transform them. Though vocoder is a really interesting technique and, if used correctly, it can add a whole new texture to a song, HRVY uses it more as a weak cover-up for his lousy vocals. “Million Ways” is a sad attempt at a late-night jam that is so bland and unimpressionable that I forgot how it went the second it was over.