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….





NADINE SHAH.

27 11 2014

“Check your pulse when I speak.”

Originally I was going to write about Nadine’s new song, Stealing Cars. I started it last night, felt sick and went to bed. A new day has dawned, I’m still ill (Hi Moz!) so I’ve started it again. Why focus on one song when I can just ramble on for a bit about why her voice is probably one of the best things around.

Last year I wrote about Runaway for another website I write for. I didn’t acknowledge how it made me cry instantly. I never mentioned that Nadine’s voice can reduce me to tears instantly. Now I have, I should probably attempt to say why. You can hear proper venom in her voice in Runaway that won me over. Then I started really listening to the lyrics. I love lyrics, probably because at times I’m underdeveloped emotionally but if I could function properly I wouldn’t have filled up so many notebooks nor would I be doing this. You can hear her voice beautifully quake as she sings the chorus, you cling onto it all. You want to yell “whore” with her. Nadine doesn’t yell it, but it’s a word that makes you want to yell. Only if it’s in a song though, don’t go round calling people it. That’s not too polite. The music feels like a train approaching, all you can do is let it pass you by. It builds up hauntingly during the chorus. A year on and the song still gives me goosebumps (I’ve also got the window open.)

Love Your Dum And Mad was 2013’s most underrated record. I don’t care what you say, so many people bypassed such a beauty. Redeem yourself. As far as debut records go, this one is something else. The sheer darkness and Nadine’s way with words would make Nick Cave piss his pants. She’s instantly up there with him. Why? Because she puts you in the moment. I know she’s been compared to the likes of Nick Cave and to an extent it can be tiring. But my god she’s a majestic storyteller like him. She’s got power in her voice like Patti Smith, you can’t help but be in awe of her.

After playing Ville Morose most of today and last night, I am quite keen to start an online petition to get Nadine to sing a full record in French. Listen to it through headphones. No idea what she’s singing, mainly because my French goes as far as “Ou est la piscine” and my fondness for the French word for bin, “poubelle.” The latter probably annoyed my French teacher in school. “OU EST LA POUBELLE MISS!!” I got a C in my GCSE and I did it a year early. Très bon.

I’ve seen a few gigs recently in churches, and I can’t help but think that Nadine’s voice was made for the likes of St Pancras Old Church or the Union Chapel. Her voice is big at the right time in songs. She’s got the kind of voice I wish I had when I sing. It’s best if I don’t sing. Or speak in French. Much like Anna Calvi, she has this dominating deep voice that takes over you and sings with such clarity. She grips you with such a force, you almost don’t notice.

It has never happened before really, but her music reminds me of one of my favourite books, Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant and in places,  Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. I don’t know what it is, maybe I go far too deep into things but her music and voice really gives such powerful imagery. Listen to Dreary Town, you’ll probably get what I mean. Her voice on that…if I had the words, I would use them. I don’t have any words to describe how powerful and beautiful it sounds. In some songs her accent comes through, like on Floating when she sings the word “Lover” it comes through. I love hearing accents in songs. Not London accents so much.

There’s a singer I’ve been writing about now for maybe nearly two years called The Long Wives (Brandy St. John) and her voice reminds me of Nadine’s. The way both really put you in the heart of the song with how they project certain words and aren’t afraid to be really open with their words. It’s a level of honesty that is missing in so many. I’m fairly sure if I went to one of Nadine’s shows I’d be the idiot at the back sobbing at every song. Sorry.

This is pretty much all over the place, mainly because I can’t really focus on one thing to write about at a time when it comes to her music. I listen to something, and I’m hit with something else. Sometimes that’s what you need. You don’t always want to feel or think of one thing when you listen to something. You want it all to hit you at once. I’m all for chaos as I loath routines and organisation.

I am fairly sure, and this is just me going by Stealing Cars, that Nadine’s new record which is out next year will be utterly special. A voice likes her’s is rare and divine. It is to be treasured yet played pretty much all the time. I adore the dark and creepy atmosphere in her music mixed with her captivating voice. She’s just sublime. J’adore!