1995.

4 09 2015

The thing with music is that it can launch you right back to a place that you either want to forget or stay. You’ll never win. I’m not one for using this as a means to express private feelings, as that is what they are, I’ll turn this around as an appreciation of 1995 rather than me being confused to fuck as to how I’m meant to feel today as it is 20 years since my dad died. I didn’t have any relationship really with him, but you don’t need to know and I don’t need to spill. As I’ve gone through and found some real delights that came out in 1995. I think most of it was just pure pop toss, but let’s be honest- there’s nothing better than 90s Mariah Carey. I realised also, that my love for Garbage has been alive and well for 20 years so you know, 1995 wasn’t totally shit. I won’t really write about the songs, I think the ones I’ve chosen speak for themselves.

So here you are, my 10 favourite songs from 1995:

I am fully aware that there are some wonderful dance/pop songs I have missed. Including Rhythm Of The Night..I know. I know.





LYRICS OF 2014.

11 01 2015

Are we over the “New year, new me” bullshit yet? Are we all aware that you can change whenever you want, you don’t need to wait for midnight on the 1st January to do so? And the gym is open beyond January… Alright, I’ll go back to the past 12 months.

Everybody likes to inflict their “ALBUMS OF *insert year*” upon anyone towards the end of the year. Some mention records that nobody probably listened to just to seem “cool” or they slag off good ones just because they did well. It’s all a bit daft, and the only person’s view of a record that really does matter is probably the fans who love the band. I could be wrong, I most likely am but I’m not someone who aims to ever be right. I don’t care enough, so with that..I decided to put together my list of lyrics of the past year. Lyrics that I listen to intensely and cause me to play the same song about 20 times in a short amount of time and not wanting to listen to anything else for a while. They could be lyrics that someone else thinks is shit, but what does that matter? It’s obvious who I’m going to write about because it is those who have put out records last year that I will probably still play all the time. I judge a year by the music not what happens in my life, I’ve again, probably got it all wrong but it’s things like that,that sort of stop me from getting on a plane and fucking off without saying a word. Oh and I’ve not got much ££££ to do so anyway. Maybe one day I’ll grow a backbone. Until then….

D’Angelo- The Charade. Towards the end of the year, the King of Soul FINALLY, after 14 years, put a record out. Black Messiah was not just one of the best records of the year but it was the most important. The whole message behind it stood for something bigger than those who were patiently waiting for a new D’Angelo record could imagine. Everywhere went nuts when it came out, and it is was beautiful. There are so many wonderful lyrics on Black Messiah, but this one from The Charade is one that really hit me. It sums up the brutality that was happening (and still is) in America. “Degradation so loud that you can’t hear the sound of our cries.” If anything can sum up the events and injustice, it is probably that one. You can tell from any D’Angelo song that he’s someone who watches and takes note of human behavior in all its ways. Black Messiah was full of hope and pain. It brought a sense of unity and a bit of peace that was much needed. Again proving that Music is one of the most powerful tools there is.

Morrissey- Earth Is The Loneliest Place. I probably would have gone for Kick The Bride Down The Aisle or Staircase At The University, but there is something about Earth Is The Loneliest Place that I couldn’t ignore. For those that hate Morrissey, there’s a load more of us that love him. Love conquers all, right? Morrissey’s lyrics are a huge part of my life and a load of others. The way he writes is something else, he gets to the very core of you and you feel as if he’s writing the songs about you. Is he saving your life or is he just able to put it all across better than you could? Personally, I think it is both. For me it is the line, “And humans are not really very humane. And earth is the loneliest planet of all.” Some lyrics just speak for themselves really. We have all seen how cruel humans can be, and we have all felt lonely. You can feel lonely anywhere, and our planet earth is a prime example of that. But if you are feeling lonely, go to a record store. Just like Penny Lane says in Almost Famous.

Band Practice-Magic! Last year one of the finest duos around and New York’s finest, Band Practice released their debut record. Make Nice is full of songs that make you feel like you’re part Tina Belcher/part Patti Smith. All music should aspire to that, the world would be a better place for sure. My favourite song off the record is Band Practice Theme Song, but this lyric from Magic! is my favourite : “When I walk inside my door , the world seems safe and it offers more.” We all know daily life can be a drag, a real pain in the behind and sometimes as soon as you step outside, you wish you hadn’t. If you’ve never experienced that, then you’ve never taken three tubes to work and had several items and body parts shoved in your face. It’s not even 8am and you’ve had enough. Songs like this a real comfort and stop you from punching yourself in the face out of sheer despair, or you know..punching someone else because all they are doing is glaring at their phone gormlessley and not watching where they are going.

BANKS- Fuck ‘Em Only We Know. Goddess was one of the best debut records to come out last year, and Banks I feel, is the only R&B singer that comes close to Aaliyah. When Aaliyah died, she left a huge void and she’s irreplaceable. Most are, and we dispose of singers so easily, but Aaliyah was so rare. Bans has that gentle feel to her music that Aaliyah created. Fuck ’em reminds me of a song that would have sounded amazing on Aaliyah’s last record, there’s something about this song. Something really special. Banks, like all great songwriters is someone you can tell watches others. Whether it be strangers or people she knows, she takes their story and turns it into a work of art. I adore this lyric: “Even addicted to your grumpy face. I know exactly just how many kisses fit between your eyes.”
It’s such an observant and adoring lyric. If you’ve felt like that, then you’ve experienced real love.

Julian Casablancas & The Voidz- Human Sadness.  I love the way Julian sings in that tired, fed-up and frustrated way. He makes you really feel what he is saying. Sure on the Tyranny record it’s hard to make out what he’s singing, but when you read the lyrics, you see another person who is massively observant and is paying close attention to how people behave. Human Sadness is an intense song, and many would say that this is one of the best songs Julian has ever done, and they’re not wrong and is evident in the lyric: “Understanding is more important than love. If not money will always trump justice.” If you’ve seen how corrupt the world can be, you’ll have seen that those with money will always outweigh most things, Julian’s picks up on how unfair it is yet it is something that may possibly never change.

Warpaint-Disco//Very. Warpaint are an easy band to write about. I don’t know what it is about them, but they are one of the few bands that when I listen to them, I just want to write down every thought and feeling that they bring to life. When music is this magical, you really cannot let it go. Disco//Very is unlike most of their songs. You know that drop during Undertow? Well, all of Disco//Very is that moment for about 3 minutes. It’s bloody euphoric, and I adore this lyric : “Only in the sound of the voices I scream.” That line is a kick to the soul, it smacks you and you just feel..as sickeningly clichéd as it sounds, it just makes you feel alive. If you’ve seen them perform this live, you will see that nobody stands still. It’s got that wonderful mystical Warpaint feel surrounding it, and you can’t help but play it over and over. It’s delightfully infectious.

Nadine Shah-Stealing Cars. If her voice doesn’t move you, then go see someone about that. Her voice is bold and gloriously powerful. I remember hearing Runaway and just being in awe of this stunning voice, Nadine is something else. What I love about Nadine is the strength in her voice, the only other singer who is as strong as her has to be Anna Calvi. Both singers can break your heart and terrify you in the next breath. That’s what makes them powerful and bloody brilliant. “Check your pulse when I speak.” Take that line how you want, but when you listen and I mean really listen to Nadine sing it, you feel as if she’s talking right to you. Nadine is such a brilliant songwriter and I firmly believe her new record is going to be one of the best ones to come out this year.

Dum Dum Girls- Too True To Be Good. Dee Dee is an underrated songwriter. She’s as powerful as Patti, and she sings in such a clear way and with such purpose. Much like Patti. Too True was in my Top 3 records of 2014, and again is one I’ve not grown tired of. You never grow tired of your favourite bands do you. Too True To Be Good is lyrically my favourite off the record, and I love Dee Dee’s voice throughout the song. When I first heard it, I became hooked on the lyric: “It’s hard to outrun a devil from behind.” Dee Dee’s lyrics are outbursts of truths and sources of comfort, you can hear it in all its glory in songs like Coming Down. She just knows how to phrase something in a way that hits you in the gut. There’s nobody else like her.

2:54- South. When 2:54 FINALLY released The Other I, it felt like my birthday and Christmas had come at once. The Other I was released 2 days before my birthday so I wasn’t far off. I immediately fell in love with the record and I was so proud of the sound they had created on the record. It was still eerie like their debut, but it had something else. Something I’m still trying to find the words to describe, but I’m yet to get there. My favourite song off The Other I changes by the day. I seem to flirt between South and Pyro. Pyro’s got this brilliant attitude to it, but South has this lyric : “Got nowhere to, nowhere to put misshapen love.” It’s obvious how much I adore this band (I’m using my work holiday to go see them on tour) and this lyric just made me adore them even more. You know how sometimes a band you really love, and you don’t think they can amaze you anymore? Turns out they always can….

2:54-Blindfold. The drumming on this just proves why Alex Robins is one of the best around, and the video to this is beautifully shot. It captures London in all its beauty. I saw them play this at Union Chapel and they made a powerful anthem sound like a haunting chant. It was just beautiful. None of this has really been written in order, but my favourite lyric of 2014 has to be “Everybody says I’ve got to say what’s on my mind. But how do I say, that am I really losing my way. Every day.” If you pick apart 2:54’s lyrics, they read like chilling poetry that would cause Poe to freak out slightly. Colette is a brilliant songwriter absolutely brilliant and the way in which Hannah writes the music just goes so well with Colette’s words. It’s got to be a sister thing because nobody else comes close. There are so many reasons as to why I regard 2:54 so highly. Partly because they are genuine and lovely people, partly because their music takes you some place else and partly because they’re unlike anyone else. Their music is spooky but euphoric. It’s not too late to get a ticket for their tour next month….





D’ANGELO- Black Messiah.

15 12 2014

 

 

14 years ago I walked into HMV and purchased Voodoo by D’Angelo. I bought Brown Sugar at the same time, mainly because I didn’t have the funds in 1995 but a weekend job allowed me to buy both Voodoo and Brown Sugar. I couldn’t ever choose which I love the most, it’s impossible. D’Angelo has been a huge love of mine for so long, and to wake up knowing a new record was out today was great news. There have been so many brilliant moments in music this year, for me. And I could have happily listed them off until this morning- pre D’Angelo release. So now, I can pretty much say that Black Messiah is THE most important and best thing to happen to music this year.

I’m not sure how to write about Black Messiah. I could pick apart every song and go on about why they are so good, I could go on about why it is so important for someone like D’Angelo to release this record or maybe combine them both and ramble on. I don’t know. I really don’t. I guess if you want a standard review, you’ve got the likes of *insert name.*

So, is Black Messiah a masterpiece? Was it worth the wait? Yep and yes some more. What you need to understand is that D’Angelo is the best R&B singer around. The guy just oozes  real soul. He’s not some auto-tune buffoon relaying on producers to make him relevant. Even when he wasn’t making music, he was relevant. Always. This is the guy you listen to when you want to escape the modern world and go way back in time. He’s got nostalgia (I hate that word, sorry) flowing through his music. Marvin never really died. The thing about Black Messiah is it has been released at a time where something like this is truly truly needed. Sure he is known for his romantic wordplay, but Black Messiah is graciously political in all the right places.

This record is a touch of Al Green and Sly Stone, comparing D’Angelo to anyone current would be offensive to his music because if it wasn’t for him… But anyway, Black Messiah is the most important record of the year. That’s all we really need to know.

If you want your heart broken in a non romantic sense, then play and listen very carefully to The Charade. It captures everything that has been going on with yet again, police brutality and lack of a justice system. If  “All we wanted was a chance to talk, ‘stead we only got outlined in chalk. Feet have bled a million miles we’ve walked, revealing at the end of the day, the charade.” doesn’t move you, then maybe you side with the police. D’Angelo is a brilliant writer, a fascinating story-teller. Shit, Damn, Motherfucker will always be my favourite song by him because of how he puts you in that situation. There is something beautiful in the way he writes about pain, with a sort of child-like innocence to it all. He’s someone who watches and writes about it so effortlessly yet careful. He just knows what to say, and my god, I am happy the wait is over.

 

But let’s be honest now, any record that credits Q-Tip and Questlove is going to be nothing short of genius. Kids that were probably created to the sounds of Brown Sugar and Voodoo now have the opportunity to understand why D’Angelo is so so important. Black Messiah is a result of years of on and off, up and down. But it is here. It is finally here.

We’re living in a time where we have gone back, too far back. A time where we were supposed to have learnt from. Some have, others evidently haven’t. Black Messiah is THE record to zone out from the real world to. It’ll ease some hearts, unleash some tears and speaks so much truth. It is the most powerful record of the year. Hype isn’t always deserved, but when it comes to this- oh it is truly needed. The greatest singer around is responsible for the greatest release of the year, that’s all there is to it. Black Messiah is a real Soul/Funk record that will appeal to anybody and everybody, it’s just so bloody good. Music is powerful, trust no one who thinks otherwise. This record is an expression of desire for unity and freedom, if that doesn’t make you want to see a change in the world then I feel bad for you, I really do.

The record ends with Another Life, a six minute dreamy gem to drift you off some place else but keeps you in the moment enough to hit play all over again. Each song gives you something new and a different way of seeing things. Frustration and love trickle through the Black Messiah. 14 years is a crazy long time, but if this is what happens then maybe it’s alright. But, D’Angelo don’t leave us so long again.