Monthly Archives: April 2013

PROFILE: Glee‘s Matthew Morrison Serves Up Standards For Seconds

Begin again.

Begin again.

You know him well as the character of Will Schuester on Glee, which was recently renewed for not one, but two more seasons. You think it’s a little premature to come to that announcement? I do too, but the network seems to really believe in it. When he’s not teaching the students at McKinley High, Matthew Morrison is an artist himself. There’s been a little bit out there on his recent developments in the music world, but now that the first single from his second album has magically appeared online, let’s have a listen to it, shall we? First, a little bit of background on the matter.

Glee attained a pretty good audience when it premiered in the fall of 2009, but it wasn’t until the second part of the first season that things really started to pick up for the crew. As the show rocked the ratings, Morrison signed a solo deal with Mercury Records, who released his self-titled debut album in the spring of 2011. He performed one of the songs on it, “Still Got Tonight”, on an episode of Glee that season, and the radio single from the effort, “Summer Rain”, made the top 20 on Adult Contemporary radio. It also made the top 20 on my personal chart, but we know those things don’t count in the real world. Sigh. Despite duets with Elton John and Sting and a top show on the air, he couldn’t really promote the album when it came out, and thus, it debuted moderately and then crashed down, never to be seen again. He was then, understandably, dropped from the label. However, just a year later, Morrison became the first signee on 222 Records, a label put together by the lead singer of Maroon 5, Adam Levine. He’s been working on this project ever since, and now his baby is ready to be revealed to the world in just a few weeks.

Where It All Began marks Matthew Morrison‘s first full release to go in an all-standards direction rather than the pop record he put out two years ago. The twelve-song set, released on June 3, is a mix of songs from the musicals and big band era, from “The Lady Is A Tramp” (from Babes In Arms) to “Luck Be A Lady” (from Guys And Dolls) to the first single from it, a take on the Duke Ellington classic from the 30’s, “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”. (You can hear that rendition below.) The album was produced by the late Phil Ramone, so there may be some curiosity buys based on that unfortunate event. There are some peculiar choices, including a duet with Smokey Robinson on “Ease On Down The Road” from The Wiz (who made that decision?) as well as a cover of “Send In The Clowns” from A Little Night Music, which is generally sung from the female perspective, although I guess that didn’t stop Frank Sinatra from recording a version of it. This is purely based on viewing the tracklisting; we’ll see if Morrison’s collection of songs actually works when it comes out in June. (You would think the label would want to put it out for Mother’s Day to cash in on that. Way to go, kids.) The first single is decent enough and a pretty faithful version of the old song, so I have decent-sized expectations for the rest of the eleven tracks.

(Pre-order Where It All Began on Amazon.)

Morrison hasn’t announced a full tour to promote his forthcoming album yet, but he will be doing two dates with the Boston Pops on May 28 and 29, two dates at 54 Below in New York City on June 2 and 4, as well as two dates with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. on November 29 and 30. In the meantime, perhaps we’ll see him pop up on The Voice for a performance with coach Adam Levine on the show. The genre of the album may be a hard sell to younger audiences who enjoy his stuff on Glee, but should he see the older folks come out for it, he may be able to stretch this era a bit. Otherwise, he still has a television to fall back on until the spring of 2015. At least this is the kind of material he wants to do artistically rather than being forced in a studio to record something, and I’m sure that’s enough satisfaction for him.

Listen to the first single from Morrison’s Where It All Began, “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”. You can also request it at your local Adult Contemporary radio station, where the song has been serviced as of this week. Let me know what you think of it in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Music News, Retro

Dance Again: Making The Jump From Bubblegum To BPM

We loved them in those beautiful days of the boy band bonanza (even if they hate the term), but now, they’ve taken other routes and dramatically different ones at that. Now, I’m no expert when it comes to the world of electronic and dance music, but I certainly approve of these two guys getting a second chance at success. Both of these releases off of the Armada Music label are looking to take off as the summer season begins to sizzle. Who has the right moves and who can move over? Check these two groovy gems out.

Feelin' the power of two.

Feelin’ the power of two.

ARMIN VAN BUUREN featuring TREVOR GUTHRIE – “This Is What It Feels Like”
Release Date: at radio (Canada), May 6 (United Kingdom)

You probably don’t recognize the name, but if you were listening to radio in 2000, then you’re probably familiar with the act this guy was a part of. Trevor Guthrie is the former frontman of the Canadian trio soulDecision, who are best known for their 2000 hit, “Faded”. It actually hit #1 in Canada, while it made the top ten on the pop airplay chart here in the States. After expanding to a quartet and releasing a sophomore album that didn’t do particularly well (although I liked both singles from it), the group disbanded in 2005, with Guthrie pursuing a solo career to little attention. His foray into dance music began last year when he appeared on German DJ’s Markus Schulz‘s album Scream on one track, “Until It’s Gone”. Now, he’s teamed up with Dutch DJ Armin Van Buuren to lead off his latest album, Intense, due to be released in May. This is his first single on which he sings solo to see the light of day as a commercial release. It’s already been picking up momentum at mainstream radio in Guthrie’s native Canada, while it’ll be released in the United Kingdom in a week and a half, where Van Buuren has placed four singles into the lower regions of the chart, but hasn’t charted since 2005. Perhaps this collaboration will be the trick. Guthrie may have gone from bleach blonde highlights to his shaggier look recently, but he’s still sounding great at the microphone on “Feels”. Plus, he’s a natural fit for this new twist of genre. He sort of reminds me a bit of Erik Hassle or Mr Hudson. I think the two of them have a hit on their hands. Plus, who doesn’t love a good video with car chases in it? Don’t miss this one; it’ll be on your local station this summer.

Gotta let it burn.

Gotta let it burn.

Release Date: May 27 (United Kingdom)

Just a few weeks later comes this new single, which originally appeared as just an instrumental when it was released online in the fall of last year. A video was shot and remixes were issued. However, last month, the song was essentially rereleased in a second form featuring vocals from a familiar face. Remember BBMak? Well, Christian Burns was one of the B’s in that British trio. Four of their singles managed to gain airplay here, including their first single “Back Here” from their 2000 album Sooner Or Later. A second album did moderately well in 2002, but quickly fell off the charts, and the trio disbanded by 2003. Years later, Burns made a big leap into dance music and it paid off, first hooking up with Dutch DJ Tiësto on the 2007 single “In The Dark”. It led him to appearances on other songs by top-named DJs like the aforementioned Armin Van Buuren, Benny Benassi and BT. His now finds him on this collaborative single between British producer Chicane and Dutch DJ Ferry Corsten. Chicane‘s been a regular on the Singles Chart in the U.K. since the late 90’s, charting as recently as 2009. Corsten’s had a few singles make the top 40, but 2006 was the last time he saw any kind of placement. This one’s a pretty decent record, although you’re more likely to hear this one in a club than on the airwaves. Burns sounds fine, and the production is great on “Suns”, but it’s a little too European sounding to make it anywhere outside of there. Plus, the video with the whole Twilight theme? Yeah… not my thing. That being said, let’s see if it can do anything in the U.K. on the 27th. It could catch on quickly with the buzzing EDM crowd.

Who are you rooting for to succeed with their newest release? Do you like Burns and Guthrie better as dance vocalists or back during their pop days? Let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (April 23)

Cool for the pool.

Cool for the pool.

From Canada to France and Scotland to the States, this week’s report is an international affair when it comes to the acts releasing. Here’s what you can expect in stores for the week of April 23:

  • Call him irresponsible… or just call him rich. The latest studio album for Michael Bublé is released this week, To Be Loved. “It’s A Beautiful Day” is the current #1 song on my chart and is also top 20 on Adult Contemporary radio. With a mix of original songs and a few covers, it’s sure to delight some beautiful audiences. It’s a strong contender for the top album next week. (iTunes)
  • American Idol season 3 winner Fantasia delivers her fourth studio album, Side Effects Of You. First single “Lose To Win” is #5 on the Urban Adult Contemporary chart and her next single features Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott. (iTunes)
  • It was four years ago that the French band Phoenix broke out in the U.S. with big Alternative hits like “1901” and “Listzomania”. Their second album on Glassnote Records, Bankrupt!, is out today, featuring current single “Entertainment”. (iTunes)
  • It’s a Dogg Eat Dogg kind of world, but there’s one less pup on the pop scene today. Snoop Dogg is now Reincarnated as Snoop Lion on his latest efforts, featuring a pack of collaborations that include a first single with Miley Cyrus, “Ashtrays And Heartbreaks”. (iTunes)
  • She may not know the Loch Ness Monster, but her monster smash, “Next To Me”, is still rising here in the States. It also appears on Emeli Sandé‘s new iTunes Session EP. (iTunes)
  • He’s a former X Factor winner and now he’s ready to take on the Country charts. Tate Stevens is out with his self-titled album today, featuring current radio single “Power Of A Love Song”. (iTunes)
  • After being delayed for nearly a year and a half, the second solo album by is released this week, #willpower. It features the hits “Scream & Shout” (with Britney Spears) and “#thatpower” (with Justin Bieber.) (iTunes)
  • Rockers Youngblood Hawke Wake Up the music scene with their debut album. (iTunes)
  • His single “Recovery” is hopping up the Alternative chart, and now English singer-songwriter Frank Turner is out with Tape Deck Heart. (iTunes)
  • Comedian and performer Steve Martin collaborates with folk and pop singer Edie Brickell on the album Love Has Come For You. (iTunes)
  • Finally, Rob Zombie‘s fifth studio album and first in three years is out this week, titled Venomous Rat Regeneration. (iTunes)

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

Will Kenny Chesney live a lovely chart life with Life On A Rock, his latest album? A preview is coming in seven!

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Growing Pains: The Hits That Hike To New Heights

Grow a pair!

Grow a pair! (Of singles, that is.)

One of the most popular posts in the past week and a half has belonged to Canadian singer Avril Lavigne‘s newest single, “Here’s To Never Growing Up”. The pop ditty is already building feverishly at radio and recently debuted at #52 on the Billboard Hot 100. She may not want to grow up, but other song titles take the affirmative side on the matter. At this point, fourteen songs with the word “grow” (or a variation like “grown”, “grows” or “growing”) have made the top 40 since the Hot 100 began in 1958, meaning Lavigne could potentially have the fifteenth such title to do so. Have these songs aged well or should we leave them in the past? You be the judge.

The first of our big “grow” singles on the list comes from a performer who was successful as an actor before he became a singer, first starring on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1955. By 1962, a then sixteen-year-old Johnny Crawford had charted with a pair of hits before his third, “Your Nose Is Gonna Grow”, went to #14. He last entered the Hot 100 in 1964, then went back into acting and later on joined the Army. He now leads a dance orchestra in California.

Here’s the first of three years where two songs managed to rank in the top 40. After launching hits like “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Surfin’ U.S.A” into the top ten, the Beach Boys climbed back there in the fall of 1964 with “When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)”. It peaked at #9 on the Hot 100. They consistently hit that region for another two years before things fell apart. They reunited last year for an album and tour before three of its members left the group again.

The second of the two came from New York girl group The Cookies, who were then a trio. Their last of three top 40 hits, “Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys”, rose as high as #33. They’re still together today with a different lineup.

After reaching the top spot with “My Girl” earlier that year, the followup single to it by The Temptations, “It’s Growing”, only went to #18 on the charts. The group would go onto score fifteen top ten hits after that single, mostly from 1966-1973. A remake by singer-songwriter James Taylor from his Covers album reached a peak of #11 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 2009, his biggest at the format in over a decade, but failed to make the Hot 100.

The duo of Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni got together in 1966 under the name Just Us. Their only top 40 single, “I Can’t Grow Peaches On A Cherry Tree”, was also the name of their sole album. The song hit #34 on the Hot 100. Taylor wrote for a number of Country artists afterwards and had one minor top 40 hit on the Country survey in 1975, while Gorgoni played on #1 Hot 100 hits for Melanie, The Archies and The Monkees.

Singer Bobby Vee became a teen idol in early 60’s with big singles like the #1 “Take Good Care Of My Baby” from 1961. His singles faltered as the British Invasion came around, but he had one last hurrah with “Come Back When You Grow Up”, reaching #3 on the Hot 100. It is, thus far, the highest peaking of all the “grow” titles on this list. It was also Vee’s first single credited to Bobby Vee & The Strangers. They last hit in 1970.

Also during the year, pop group The Four Seasons went to #30 with one of their lesser singles, “Watch The Flowers Grow”. It wasn’t until 1975 that the group would reappear in the top ten with the #3 “Who Loves You”.

The first and only “grow” top ten hit during the decade came in the spring, when “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” climbed to a peak of #5 for Edison Lighthouse. It was the group’s only top-40 hit, but lead singer Tony Burrows would also appear on hits by three other bands within that year: “Gimme Dat Ding” by The Pipkins (#9), “My Baby Loves Lovin'” by White Plains (#13) and “United We Stand” by The Brotherhood of Man (#13).

A second more minor song, “Do You See My Love (For You Growing)”, charted for R&B group Jr. Walker & The All-Stars. It rose to #32 and was their last of a dozen top-40 hits. They would continue to make the Hot 100 until 1972.

If you were alive in the 60’s, you probably remember the #1 hit “Honey” from 1968, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s often credited as one of the worst songs of all-time. (I’m not a fan either.) Well, three years after that musical mess, Bobby Goldsboro struck again with a not-so-horrible song, “Watching Scotty Grow”. It went to #11. Goldsboro last hit the top 40 in 1973, but continued to make the Country survey until 1982.

Soul group The 5th Dimension made a name for themselves starting the mid-60’s with a handful of big singles and even more moderate charters. By the mid-70’s, their mainstream success quickly dried up, beginning with this last top-40 single. “Living Together, Growing Together”, the title track from one of their last studio albums, only mustered up to #32. The band still tours today with one founding member, Florence LaRue.

After eight top 5 singles in a row, the streak had to end for the legendary Elton John in 1976 with a double a-sided single that only charted in North America. One of the two songs featured on it was “Grow Some Funk Of Your Own”, which fits our look back, which was backed with “I Feel Like A Bullet (In The Gun Of Robert Ford)”. It peaked at #14 in the United States. He would rebound quite quickly and have many more top ten singles.

The last of the 70’s growers was by Kenny Nolan, who took his second and final top 40 hit to #20, a song called “Love’s Grown Deep”. Nolan had a total of four songs make the Hot 100 through 1980, the biggest of them being the #3 “I Like Dreamin'”. This would be the last top 40 single overall to contain the word “grow” or a variation of it for nearly three decades! Why such a long time? I don’t know, but it kept on growing for over thirty years.

After a dry spell of 31 years, “When I Grow Up” by the Pussycat Dolls hit the national charts, becoming their last top ten single to date with a #9 charting. It led off their sophomore album, Doll Domination. It didn’t dominate, however, and was the beginning of the end for the Dolls as lead singer Nicole Scherzinger began to be credited as a featured artist on their final two Stateside singles. Scherzinger eventually went solo to mixed success.

Check back soon to see how Lavigne’s song ends up doing on the national charts and don’t forget to follow the blog below and find me on Twitter at @AdamFSoybel.

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: April 21, 2013

Pop the Bublé.

Lovin’ each “Day”.

39. Jamie Cullum – Everything You Didn’t Do

31. Avril Lavigne – Here’s To Never Growing Up (38)
28. Nikki Williams – Glowing (34)
27. Plain White T’s – Should’ve Gone To Bed (35)
19. Kelly Clarkson – People Like Us (28) | BIGGEST MOVER — second week

10. Phillip Phillips – Gone, Gone, Gone (09) | PEAK: #02
09. Passenger – Let Her Go (12) | PEAK: #09
08. Justin Timberlake – Suit & Tie (05) | PEAK: #02
07. Daniel Powter – Crazy All My Life (08) | PEAK: #07
06. fun. – Why Am I The One? (06) | PEAK: #06
05. Justin Timberlake – Mirrors (07) | PEAK: #05
04. Passion Pit – Carried Away (04) | PEAK: #04
03. Pink featuring Nate Ruess – Just Give Me A Reason (03) | PEAK: #01 for five weeks
02. Fitz & The Tantrums – Out Of My League (02) | PEAK: #02
01. Michael Bublé – It’s A Beautiful Day (01) | PEAK: #01 for two weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Labrinth featuring Emeli Sandé – Beneath Your Beautiful (1)
2. Matchbox Twenty – Our Song (3)
3. Classified featuring David Myles – Inner Ninja (4)
4. Maroon 5 – Love Somebody (8)
5. Vampire Weekend – Diane Young (6)
6. Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky (-)
7. Rod Stewart – She Makes Me Happy (10)
8. Sara Bareilles – Brave (-)
9. 98 Degrees – Microphone (9)
10. One Direction – Rock Me (-)

In The Mix:
Armin Van Buuren featuring Trevor Guthrie – This Is What It Feels Like (new)
Bruno Mars – Treasure (new)
Emblem3 – Chloe (You’re The One I Want) (new)
Frank Turner – Recovery
Hinder – Should Have Known Better
Honor By August – Last Chance (new)
Hunter Hayes – I Want Crazy
James Arthur – Impossible
Jonas Brothers – Pom Poms
Lawson – Gone
Lee DeWyze – Silver Lining (new)
Olly Murs – Dear Darlin’ (new)
Paramore – Still Into You
Selena Gomez – Come & Get It
Shinedown – I’ll Follow You

See my full chart on the M4BCC message board.

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Record Store Day 2013: What I’m Looking At

Viva la Vinyl.

Viva la Vinyl.

Ah, yes, it’s a nice spring day. The birds are singing and the sun is shining… but wait, where are all the people to enjoy this? Well, duh, they’re waiting in line outside their local record store for Record Store Day! The 2013 edition of RSD is tomorrow, April 20, and big things are going down once again. The Day was founded back in 2007 in a more regional form before it expanded nationally in 2008. I remember buying my first two vinyl singles then: 7″ records of “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz and “Supernatural Superserious” by R.E.M., both songs I loved at the time. Today, there are hundreds of items available for purchase, from pop to rock to soul to country and everything in-between. Just, remember to get there early, or you may miss out on what you want! I thought I’d highlight some of the pieces that I’m looking to find on my hunt around some of the stores here. I’m up for the challenge — are you? Then, let’s get groovy.

Format: 12″ vinyl EP
View artwork

On the heels of their latest studio album, What About Now, comes this EP exclusively for Record Store Day. It contains four tracks, including hits like “Keep The Faith” and “Livin’ On A Prayer”. This has the distinction of being one of the few picture disc releases up for purchase, which is very cool.

CHEECH & CHONG featuring ALICE BOWIE – “Earache My Eye”
Format: 7″ vinyl single
View artwork

It wouldn’t be 4/20 without an offering from Cheech & Chong, am I right? Their biggest hit, a top ten single in 1974, comes in its original form with the same picture sleeve and tracklisting: “Earache My Eye” as the a-side; “Turn That Thing Down” as the b-side. Did I mention it’s on green-colored vinyl? Wicked, man.

FITZ & THE TANTRUMS – “Out Of My League”
Format: 12″ vinyl single
View artwork

“Out Of My League” is currently occupying the #2 spot on my personal chart, so I’d love to find a copy of it on Saturday. The 12″ single is pressed on a clear-colored vinyl with “League” as the a-side and a song called “Spark” as the b-side. Both songs appear on the band’s forthcoming album, More Than Just A Dream, which is out on May 7.

FRANK TURNER – “Recovery”
Format: 7″ vinyl single
View artwork

Turner’s single is making some waves at Alternative and Adult Alternative radio and I’ve been liking it for a few weeks now. “Recovery” is on the a-side, while a song called “We Shall Not Overcome” is on the flip side. The English singer releases Tape Deck Heart on April 23, the Tuesday after Record Store Day.

MUMFORD & SONS – Live At Bull Moose EP
Format: 10″ vinyl EP, CD
View artwork

This four-track effort was recorded last year at the Bull Moose location in Scarborough, Maine. It features three tracks from their Grammy-winning album Babel, including the single “I Will Wait”, as well as one from their debut album, Sigh No More. There are more pressed copies on CD than vinyl, so be on the lookout.

PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS – “Maybe I’m Amazed (Live)”
Format: 7″ vinyl single
View artwork

I’m sure you hear this song quite a lot of Adult Contemporary and Classic Hits stations. It peaked at #10 on the Hot 100 in 1977. The short and long versions on both sides of this single are of the live version from the Wings Over America LP. Last year, McCartney put out another 7″ single for the Day, “Another Day”, backed with “Oh Woman Oh Why”.

TEGAN & SARA – “Closer”
Format: 12″ vinyl single
View artwork

This one recently made it as high as #26 on my personal chart, but I would definitely purchase it on vinyl. I believe this is meant to bear the same tracklisting as this six-song EP released digitally last month. This comes from their album entitled Heartthrob, which recently debuted in the top ten on the Billboard 200 album chart.

There are a few other things I’m looking at, including releases from David Bowie and Walk The Moon, but of course, I don’t think I’ll be able to find everything on my wish list. I’ll update this on Saturday. Are you looking forward to Record Store Day and is there a release that you’ve got to have? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

EDIT: The only release I didn’t find out of the eight was the Frank Turner 7″ single. Otherwise, I found everything I wanted, plus more! You can view pictures of what I purchased here, here and here.

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Sara Bareilles – “Brave” (+ Lyrics)

My "Brave" face.

My “Brave” face.

Alright, all you Sara Bareilles fans, gather ’round. Her new single is about to premiere, a song called “Brave”. It’s the first single from her forthcoming third full-length studio album, due later this summer. Want a taste?

I’ve heard the full song, and I will say the song is very much different from a lot of her previous material. It’s, well, for lack of a better word, a “brave” choice to put out as the first single. There’s a really good energy about it; it’s extremely upbeat and has a great message to it. The verses are fast-paced (except for the second half of the second verse) and chorus, post chorus and middle 8 are sung at a more normal tempo. It’s rhythmic, it’s fun, it’s catchy. It’s going to be one of those anthem that gets picked up by social groups and I think it would serve a great purpose in some sort of anti-bullying campaign. It’s very, very good. Just don’t expect your usual Sara “I’m gonna write a song to bash my label, rawr” Bareilles leadoff single.

Lyrics should be correct, but if anything needs any correction, let me know. Enjoy!

Listen to “Brave”.

“BRAVE” (3:40)
(PLEASE credit when reposting.)

[Verse 1]
You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

[Chorus x2]
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

[Post-Chorus x2]
I just wanna see you (x3)
I wanna see you be brave

[Verse 2]
Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

[Chorus x2]
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

[Middle 8]
Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

[Chorus x2]
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

[Post-Chorus x3]
I just wanna see you (x3)
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you (x3)

(PLEASE credit when reposting.)

Stay tuned for updates…


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