One Last Dose of Summer MAGIC!

Looking for a little more summer MAGIC! before September rolls around? Well MAGIC! (Nasri Atweh, Mark Pellizzer, Ben Spivak, and Alex Tanas) released their debut album Don’t Kill the Magic about a month ago, and their reggae-pop style is laced with enough hooks and harmonies to keep your summer alive, even after the warm weather starts to fade. With one song already peaking at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts (“Rude”), the album has been bringing a lot of attention to the band’s frontman, Nasri Atweh. Atweh is one-half of a songwriting / production duo, The Messengers, that has written for artists such as Shakira and Justin Bieber, among many others. But Atweh turns the spotlight towards himself this summer with his unique songs and distinct sound.

“Rude,” the first track on the album and one of the most played songs of the summer, immediately establishes MAGIC!’s reggae vibe and conversational lyrics. Its catchy melody and dynamic arrangement make it almost impossible to walk away without singing, “Why ya gotta be so rude / I’m gonna marry her anyway.”

The next track, “No Evil,” introduces the second type of song featured on the album, pop-rock with a heavy dose of ska. The verses are upbeat with tom-laden drums while the pre-choruses are light and melodic with only a high hat keeping the beat.  Then, the chorus comes in with a four on the floor rhythm and Atweh’s powerful vocals, resulting in a track where each part of the song hits you hard and sticks. The song also features a reggae breakdown in the second verse, bringing it back to the summery feel of the album.

A strong aspect of the album is its use of background vocals.  Each track is saturated with harmonies and rhythmic backing vocals, adding to the instrumentation of the songs.  In some songs, like “Little Girl Big World,” some of the most memorable moments of the track are the catchy “Hey”-s that follow the chorus.  And in “Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool,” the chorus is followed by a soft, harmonized “Thank ya mama / Thank ya mama.”  The title track, however, features the most creative use of background vocals.  The verses of “Don’t Kill the Magic” are almost exactly the same, but the lyrics of the background vocals in the second verse differ, causing the verses to stand apart from each other and keep the song moving.  Atweh recognizes The Police as a source of inspiration for the music, and the title track exemplifies this influence as the vibe of the song is reminiscent of “King of Pain” by The Police. The song’s music video also pays tribute to The Police’s video for “Wrapped Around Your Finger” by using lightbulbs for effect instead of candles.

Don’t Kill the Magic offers anything you might crave in your music this summer.  From slow reggae jams with lyrics that beautifully articulate emotions (“Tell me you are more than just skin and bones / you are elegance and freedom and everything I know” – “Let Your Hair Down”) to upbeat rock songs with humorous, conversational lyrics (“I didn’t offer you a diamond or a mortgage / all I wanted was a home-cooked sandwich” – “Little Girl Big World”). The album has it all and more – including “Paradise,” a track that has the same vibe as “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars.

The summer may be on its last leg, but MAGIC! is just starting to take off running.  Check out their album on iTunes, admire Atweh’s many flowered shirts (here and here), and turn up the Summer of 2014’s MAGIC!

1 Comment

  1. Amie

    August 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I love this bands reggae vibe and catchy melodies.

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