Archive for the ‘Music’ Category
When I read Gilli Moon’s press release, I was immediately struck by the phrase ‘Australian Singer Songwriter’. Those three words epitomise my music taste, so why was I unaware of this artist who has just released her sixth album? She’s not the most mainstream artist, but nor are most of the artists who fill my iPod. To be honest, I don’t know why I wasn’t aware of her. But I am now, and that’s the important thing.
The Stillness plays home to fourteen tracks which each shine in their own way. Opening with Conversation With Me, Moon’s soft vocals demonstrate her natural ability that compliment the piano playing which accompanies her voice.
I Am is a stand out track for me. Whilst Moon has been compared to the likes of Alanis Morrisette (something I don’t disagree with) it’s Genevieve Little – another Aussie who I once randomly stumbled across who I am reminded of in this upbeat number. The chorus is full of optimism and charisma, emphasising the happiness behind the song.
The ‘haunting’ track of the album is Days In November. Background vocals and a repetitive chorus may often be seen as flaws in a song, yet here they serve to reinforce the strength of Moon’s vocals. It’s floaty without hitting the extreme airiness that Imogen Heap overwhelms me with.
Before I listened to Cos I Love You So, I assumed it would be cutesy pop. I was proven wrong with this track and its powerful chorus that some may say – OK, so my mum was listening to it and made a comment – sounds like Madonna. And that’s not a criticism by any means. Although, my minor critique would be the juxtaposition between Moon’s vocals and the, perhaps misplaced, rapping interlude by a male vocalist that just doesn’t seem to flow for me.
The Stillness is out now.
This, my friends, is the new video for Melbournian band Goodnight Owl. Titled Maps and Compasses, it was filmed on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne. I once drove along there; we went to a huge maze inland. Anyway, that’s enough of my fading holiday memories. Enjoy the video!
A last minute decision led to my attendance at The Old Queens Head on Sunday. A quiet pub in Islington, the atmosphere would be best described as sparsely intimate. I arrived just as a girl was finishing a talk about journalism and was a little disappointed I hadn’t arrived ten minutes earlier to hear the whole thing. Unknown to me, I’d stumbled into The Lazy Gramophone. Combining live music, talks, poetry and videos, I’m led to believe it’s a regular occurrence demonstrating the vibrancy and diversity of the community.
Highlights of the showcase included Mat Lloyd who performed poetry which had been animated into videos which had a huge impact. The first of the two videos, Blokes, was used as part of a charity campaign to raise awareness of suicide in young males, whilst the latter spoke of gang violence. My other favourite was “One eighth of Fleur De Lis”, Bleu Mae, and her thirteen year old guitarist. Opening with an Oasis cover then playing three of her own songs and Usher’s OMG she really showed off her vocal talents. And as for her guitarist? My sister was clearly envious of how cool he was and we’re planning to make our ten year old brother half as suave as he was.
The reason I’d come to this random pub, in a random borough of London, was to see former Australian Idol contestant Matt Corby. Likened to Bon Iver and about to embark on a national Australian tour with Mumford and Sons, I had high expectations. Vocally he definitely surpassed these. His soft vocals and guitar playing created haunting sounds that stunned the room into silence. Saying that, it wouldn’t have taken much to silence the crowd, the room at most housed twenty eight people including Matt himself plus the venue staff. Perhaps not the easiest crowd to play to, I felt that Matt looked a bit uncomfortable and hence he barely interacted with the audience.
Whilst his vocals shone, it must be said that his songs were his weakness. I know he’s a songwriter, but I’d have loved to have seen a cover thrown into his half hour set to see if he could perform something a bit more charismatic. My sister who I’d dragged along whispered to me “He’s like Mumford and Sons – Only not catchy” and I can’t really disagree. Letters was the highlight of the set as, for me, it was the only track that came into its own with a distinctive and memorable chorus. Ending with Kings, Queens, Beggars and Thieves I couldn’t help but feel that Matt had a lot more to offer. Maybe it was the venue and lack of crowd that was his downfall, but his stage presence did not match the high quality of his voice.
He’s playing at some big venues in Australia, including the Enmore in Sydney which is huge in comparison to the top room of a pub. I just hope that he bounces off that kind of crowd and lets himself go a bit. All in all, I’d like to end this on a positive note: His vocals were outstanding and you should definitely check him out for some chilled out tunes!
The Old Queens Head, Islington
Sunday 13th June
This was to be my third time seeing Amy Macdonald. In fact, it was only in April when I last saw her, but last night’s gig was something different. The intimacy of The Hard Rock Café won the whole crowd over; There couldn’t have been more than one hundred people in the bar area.
Unlike at the Joshua Radin gig, I’d sensibly starved myself since my small lunch to make the most of the free food. Burgers, goujons and brownies were consumed throughout the evening immediately increasing the enjoyment of the evening!
To support Amy, the Icelandic artist Lára took to the tiny stage and performed six songs. Her mis-matched fashion sense defined her with multicoloured leggings and a lace necklace emphasising her look. Her first two songs didn’t overwhelm me with their lack of lyrics and reliance on ‘doo-da’ and ‘la’ to accompany the music. The set came into its own in the penultimate song Honey You’re Gay. With such a direct name, the chorus featured lines such as “You don’t have to kiss my lips/You don’t have to touch my tits” adding to the humour from the title. I’m not expecting her music to be storming the charts any time soon but her voice is good enough when it is matched with the more lyrical numbers.
Amy’s set list for the evening was half the length of her Shepherd’s Bush gig which still pleased me as I wasn’t expecting too much from a free Q The Music Club gig. As her and her four male band members opened with An Ordinary Life I remembered the quality of live performances Amy likes to deliver. Strong vocals and guitar playing on her part combine to create a real stage presence. From her first song she went straight into Love Love before she first spoke to the crowd.
She told us that this was her third gig at the Hard Rock; this somewhat surprised me as she stood there in front of merchandise from notably more famous acts such as The Beatles, Queen and The Who. Her previous appearance had seen her smashing a guitar outside and she joked that this was not something she hoped would be repeated this evening. Maybe she is more Rock’n’Roll than I first thought…
The next song was introduced to us as being her next single with a video that had been filmed only the day before. Unlike previous videos, Amy told us that they’d gone all out and used around fifteen actors and actresses so I am anticipating what the outcome will be. This particularly excites me as the song in question happens to be my favourite from A Curious Thing and is called This Pretty Face.
Her biggest hit, Mr Rock And Roll, suited the venue perfectly and had the crowd singing along. And she then shushed the crowd with the Glaswegian slang “Wheesht” before her quieter song Troubled Soul. Her Springsteen cover Born To Run went down really well in this particular venue with everyone joining as she sang the lyrics of the title.
Continuing with her two singles from her new album, Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over and Spark, Amy never once disappointed. Sure, I’d have loved to see an acoustic song thrown in, but her and her band delivered track after track.
Before No Roots, Amy told a similar story to the one she told at Shepherd’s Bush about how this album was named. Laughing at her Mum’s suggestions that had generally been thought up whilst watching Coronation Street, Amy eventually opted for the lyric from this song. I for one find it preferable to listening to an album called Ken Barlow!
Amy then told us that she would normally go away and wait for cheers before coming on and doing an encore, but in such a small venue we would be able to see everything and it would be a ‘bit shit’. So we clapped for her as she stood on stage breaking into This Is The Life. The title track of her debut, it’s a great to song to end on with the crowd lending their vocal skills in the chorus.
A great evening was had by all, particularly some of the people behind me who had certainly made the most of the free drinks. My friend and I hung around for a good hour after the show hoping that Amy would appear. Alas she did not. However nothing was going to put a downer on the evening and we left delighted at the performance we had seen.
Q The Music Club
The Hard Rock Café
June 9th 2010
Having enjoyed his debut album, I was excited to hear what Jack Johnson’s latest album To The Sea had to offer. Bought using a Play.com gift voucher, it came with the added perk of knowing I hadn’t had to fork out money to ascertain it.
The CD arrived with the most beautiful sleeve. A seascape painted with the bluest sky and a lyrics booklet stapled onto the cardboard was filled with images of different coloured woods. It screams of life’s simple pleasures and mimicked the acoustic, untouched nature of Johnson’s songs. Dedicated to Johnson’s father Jeff, I immediately got the impression that this is unadulterated Johnson. It’s him singing what he wants, how he wants. Which is good because that what I believe music should be about.
Upon listening through this album four times, I feel that I am now in a position to provide you with a one word summary of these thirteen tracks: samey. Now, before you take that as a negative review and put away your wallets that you have prised out ready to take on my words of wisdom, I must say that I do like the album. Johnson knows the songs that work for him. And he sticks to them. Whilst You And Your Heart kicks the album off with strength, the songs get less and less impactful until about three quarters of the way through where things pick up again with Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology and Pictures of People Taking Pictures. It’s fair to say that after two listens, these were the only songs that I could sing the chorus to simply by looking at their titles.
Album title track To The Sea is a grower. I think I like it because it maintains the raw style of the CD with Johnson’s guitar playing shining through. Using a monosyllabic title, At Or With Me woos me in a linguistical sense plus I am a fan of the piano introduction which, for once, does evolve into something more exciting as the song progresses. The softer vocals that open Anything But The Truth are endearing but the song fails to pick up the pace and lacks the energy and enthusiasm that I like to find in the vocals.
If you like Jack Johnson’s style, then it’d be worthwhile investing in this album. I am happy to own this album; it is genuine easy listening and non-offensive. However it doesn’t quite enthuse me in the way in which I want it to. I am seeing it as an album that will grow on me though.
I loved Bran Nue Dae as a film. I told you that you should love it too. Why? Read this and find out.
Anyway, after returning home from the bright lights of London and the excitement of having my photo taken with Tim Minchin (with my eyes closed, naturally), I decided I needed to get myself a copy of the soundtrack. Months passed and the day, eventually, came when I received the package (courtesy of friends as an eighteenth present!) containing the music to my new favourite film.
Twenty one songs make up this album. Ranging from just under two minutes to a few songs approaching the five minute mark, the songs were written for the original stage show created by Jimmy Chi twenty years ago. In fact, the end of the album features tracks recorded by members of the 1979 cast.
Vocals are provided by the majority of the film’s lead characters, which comes as no surprise given that Dan Sultan, Jessica Mauboy and Missy Higgins all come from a singing background. Ernie Dingo has several solo songs and even Geoffrey Rush offers his vocals on one track.
Sultan’s soul sounding voice opens the album with title track Bran Nue Dae. It’s the first of many songs that will entice you to singalong to them. A bit of religion and culture typical of Broome residents at the time is offered with All The Way Jesus, before returning to the uptempo Seeds That You Might Sow.
The first of the two songs featuring my favourite artist, Missy Higgins, is her collaboration with Ernie Dingo in Feel Like Going Back Home. It’s a happy song full of optimism and hope which does wonders for you if you’re in a bad mood!
Light A Light lets Mauboy hit the high notes though isn’t one of my favourites on the album. It’s a slower paced track thrown in for the emotional and narrative value of it, so it’s not hugely uplifting. In contrast, Nothing I Would Rather Be is contractually obliged to force a smile out of you. “There’s nothing I would rather be than to be an aborigine” the whole cast sing in chorus. It’s a quality show tune that you can really envisage being performed both in a local theatre in the Australian bush, or on a professional West End stage.
Whilst not every track is to my liking (I find Is You Mah Baby to be too harsh on my ears), there are plenty of quality songs to make this a worthwhile purchase if you’ve seen the film. The random addition of Rolf Harris’ Six White Boomers shows a unique take on a Christmas song which is sung in the expected Harris style with varying voices and percussion.
Afterglow is truly haunting and every time I listen to it, I am taken back to the swimming scene in the film where it is used. Sung by Missy Higgins, her voice compliments the tone perfectly.
Both Listen To The News and Stand By Your Man are great show tunes once more. They start off slower before building pace and power to add to the suspense and effect of the songs.
All in all, if you’ve seen (and enjoyed!) the film, it is definitely a great album to add to your collection. Without the knowledge of the film’s storyline, I’d advise against buying this album as you’d probably end up rather confused. I’m not saying don’t buy it. I’m saying watch the film first!
1. Bran Nue Day — Dan Sultan
2. All The Way Jesus — Jessica Mauboy
3. Seeds That You Might Sow — Dan Sultan
4. Feel Like Going Back Home — Ernie Dingo, Missy Higgins
5. Light A Light — Jessica Mauboy, Brendon Boney
6. Nothing I Would Rather Be — Bran Nue Dae Cast
7. Nyul Nyul Girl — Dan Sultan
8. Broome Love Theme — Bran Nue Dae Gypsy Orchestra
9. Long Way Away From My Country — Ernie Dingo
10. Is You Mah Baby — Ernie Dingo
11. Six White Boomers — Rolf Harris
12. Zorba’s Dance (Chooky Dancers Remix) — David Bridie
13. Afterglow — Missy Higgins
14. Listen To The News — Ernie Dingo
15. Black Girl — Dan Sultan
16. Stand By Your Man — Jessica Mauboy
17. Nothing I Would Rather Be — Brendon Boney, Geoffrey Rush
18. Road Movie Medley — Bran Nue Dae Gypsy Orchestra
19. Child Of Glory — Bob Faggetter
20. Going Back Home — Stephen Pigram
21. Bran Nue Dae — Jimmy Chi
From the opening notes of Fire Escape, I was immediately struck by the soulful tones of Diane Birch. Raised with religion as her parent’s top priority, the aptly named Bible Belt album combines soul with gospel to deliver these thirteen songs.
There’s a cute video for Valentino which uses many camera tricks to create something quite exciting. In fact, it was this video that inspired me to write this review. It’s a cheerful song with the title referring to an imaginary friend who appears to have been her way of escaping her strict upbringing. She didn’t discover pop music until her teenage years, although she played the piano from an early age, which works well as an accompaniment for her vocals.
Other personal highlights of the album would have to be Fools, Rewind and Don’t Wait Up for their varying styles. Whilst I enjoy Mirror Mirror for it’s reflections upon Birch’s life, I can’t help but find it tiring. It’s not hard work to listen to – I’d actually class it as ‘easy listening’ – but her soft voice could do with a bit of energy injected into it on a few songs to prevent the listener from falling asleep.
Forgiveness begins with the religious term ‘Hallelujah’ referencing Birch’s past once more. Her childhood clearly had a profound effect on her with travelling around the world being a major part of her first ten years. By ten, she’d lived in three different continents and would later settle in a fourth, Europe, when it came to writing Bible Belt. Each country must have brought with it new experiences and many goodbyes which Birch has been quoted saying she got used to. It can’t have been easy arriving somewhere, settling in then leaving, but I guess that was all she knew and so she’s used these experiences to help construct the album.
Whilst it’s not the most uplifting album, nor the most exciting, Bible Belt has a selection of sophisticated songs that are full of aspiration, regret and emotion. Birch has a great vocal ability and her lyrics are full of meaning which I always regard highly.
Having previously been amazed by John Mayer live two years ago, I was expecting a lot from him once more. Back then, I saw him twice in twenty four hours and was so shattered that I walked out of Hard Rock Calling three songs into Eric Clapton’s set. I have memories of being very excited for weeks before the show, so I was a little anxious when these feelings didn’t resurface prior to the latest saga in my John Mayer adventures at Wembley Arena.
As I entered this vast warehouse-like building, I could hear how Ellie Goulding had already started her set. Due to lengthy tube journeys and a McDonalds stop, we couldn’t quite make it there fast enough to see everything. But from what we did see, I was surprisingly impressed. Under The Sheets was accompanied by some drumming on Goulding’s part. Now, I know that I’ve never been a Goulding fanatic, but I wasn’t aware of her drumming abilities. She stood proudly on the huge stage dancing to her heart’s content and manically drumming along to the beat. Whilst I know I missed a few songs, she’d saved her biggest hit for last and so I got to see Starry Eyed in all it’s glory. I know many people dismiss Goulding’s musical ability but what I saw was a genuinely talented girl who was very deserving of the awards she won at the beginning of the year.
It was when the male figure, dressed casually in a white shirt and khaki green combats, took to the stage that the excitement I’d been lacking suddenly all came back to me. The opening chords to Why Georgia took me straight back to my first Mayer concert at Brixton Academy and his guitar playing blew me away once more. A lengthy guitar intro to his cover of Crossroads followed where the crowd were in awe.
It was after one of my favourites from Battle Studies, Heartbreak Warfare, that he really demonstrated his musical ability with Vultures. Notoriously a long track when played live, he wowed the crowd by playing guitar with a drumstick before beat boxing in the middle of the song.
Following the heartfelt Perfectly Lonely that we first got to see him talk properly, revealing that personality that the media love to report on. Did he talk racist slander? No. Was he a sexist pig? No. Did he try and hit on a crowd member? Well, yes he did. But once he discovered she was eighteen he thought better of it and simply silenced the arena so that this heartbroken girl could sing-along with him. Having somehow gotten across to him that she’d been dumped, he cheekily added a “Fuck him” to the chorus of Edge of Desire, creating laughter amongst the audience.
To introduce his next song, he linked from this discussion by saying “On day you’ll grow up to be an Assassin”. I’ll admit that it’s not one of my favourites from Battle Studies, but any song that he plays on stage has me from the first strike of the guitar. Talent oozes from him and continued to throughout In Your Atmosphere/Something’s Missing.
Talking about the venue, Mayer stated how it’s one of those arenas that people in the US have heard of, comparing it to their far bigger Madison Square Gardens. He said that Wembley isn’t just a building; it’s a concept and an idea too. Whilst I’m not really sure the “it’s an idea” thing made sense, the sentiment was definitely there and it was clear he was delighted to be playing here for his international audience.
A highlight of the evening would be when he brought Your Body Is A Wonderland out of retirement. Apparently he scarcely plays it live nowadays because of the media’s interest in its subject matter. But, as he said, it’s OK reading the slander about him on the internet when he’s sat in his big house that the song bought him. A song about his love of the female form, it was written pre-Jessica Simpson, pre-Jennifer Anniston and long before his famed Playboy interview. You can tell that it’s not his favourite song to play for fear of the media’s repercussions, but, equally, I think he was a very different person when he wrote it. His song writing is always full of emotion that I still believe is genuine. Maybe I’m a fool for believing this, but I think there’s a private side to Mayer that he only lets the public see through his lyrics. Then again, he continued with Who Says which had the audience singing ‘Who says I can’t get stoned?” reverting back to the edgy persona who the media love to hate.
Despite the large capacity of the venue, Mayer attempted to create a more personal atmosphere by taking note of any posters and flags in the audience and commenting on them. Correctly identifying the Brazilians and the Saudi Arabians, he stumbled with the Mexican flag, suggesting it might be the Italian flag before being corrected by his fans. He apologised, “lo siento”, and broke into an impressive performance of Bigger Than My Body.
Mayer appeared to be close to his band, introducing them all personally but paying particular attention to his British guitarist Robbie McIntosh who was given the opportunity to speak to the crowd. Given the opportunity to speak to around ten thousand people, he decided this was the perfect time to tell a ‘Knock Knock’ joke, opting for the well-known ‘Big Issue’ punch line. Unfunny it may have been, but the crowd warmed to his British charm and clapped nonetheless.
Three of my favourite songs followed; Slow Dancing In A Burning Room, Waiting On The World To Change and Half Of My Heart (without Taylor Swift!) all had me completely stunned by his abilities in both performing and crafting a song. As he finished the latter, he managed to merge it into Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. Known for it’s recent revival on Glee, Mayer made the song his own and left the stage to clapping, cheers and a standing ovation from the arena. Whoever had the idea to sing the notes that Mayer had gotten us to chant during Don’t Stop Believin’ must be feeling pretty proud, as we all joined in and continued to repeat them until Mayer and his band returned to the stage. Mayer was visibly impressed and joined in with us before playing No Such Thing.
A song from near the beginning of his career, it couldn’t have been a more perfectly fitting song for me. I’d missed my leavers meal at school for this concert. My final day of Sixth Form had ended with me waving goodbye to all my friends as they left on coaches to an evening of entertainment. I’d had to miss out on all of this for the concert and so when Mayer sang the opening line “Welcome to the real world she said to me, condescendingly” it rang very close to home. Singing about wanting to go back to high school and tell everyone that the ‘real world’ is non-existent was fitting for the day itself and I was delighted for it to have been included in the setlist.
What did he choose for the final song of the night? A very, very long rendition of Gravity. A stunning song, he took it to another level with his guitar solo at the end. Playing with the guitar laid flat on the ground, Mayer proved himself to be this incredible musician who the press tend to forget about. Behind the tabloids, he is just another musician. A talented man who makes a few mistakes and gets ripped for them by the world’s media. For me though, John Mayer will always be the outstanding singer, songwriter and guitarist who, after an impressive two hour set, still left me wanting more.
John Mayer at Wembley Arena
May 27th 2010
If you’re one of the few people who’ve actually read my review of Anthony Snape’s debut, you’ll already be aware of my adoration for him. And in particular, for Sunday. As such, I was delighted when Acoustic Sunday was released.
Beginning with the aforementioned track, it immediately makes my stomach feel anxious. The power that these songs have over me is incredible. They evoke emotion from you enveloping you in their narratives. Sunday sings of how quickly time passes by and how the bad times will soon pass.
“Tomorrow you’re older, so today you should smile” he sings as he encourages you to “break from the cycle” that we’ve all become trapped in. Tomorrow isn’t going to cause us any pain. Actually that’s a bit of a lie. Tomorrow is my last day of Sixth Form. It’s also the day of my first A Level exam. Both of these things could turn out to be painful. So maybe Snape has been a little overoptimistic, but we all need that optimism in our lives.
The album is made of three tracks from Disappearing Day and four new ones. Whilst I obviously adore Sunday, that doesn’t mean that Frequency and Little Piece Of Love aren’t amazing in their acoustic glory.
The first new song is Still Not Over You. As Snape holds the long notes, he manages to show deep emotions without even saying a word. His songs carry so much emotion that they can lead you to get so caught up in his emotions that your own feelings go into some sort of overhaul and you’re left questioning everything and anything. If you’re emotionally vulnerable then maybe this isn’t the best thing to listen to. But I guess it’s all about how you listen to it.
Pretty Girl has a title that makes me think of the kind of R&B tracks that top the charts. Fortunately this is nothing like that. Emotionally powerful (have I mentioned how emotional Snape’s music is?!), it makes you wonder who the pretty girl is. And how you wish you were her. But then you realise you’re not her and how nobody thinks of you as being like her and so you take a few minutes to wallow in self-pity.
Upon exiting the self-pitying stage, you can listen to the stunning Frozen Blues. The piano carries the lyrics along beautifully. It’s a love song full of metaphors (and you know how much I love a good metaphor!) that balances the happy and the sad to produce something perfect for singing along to loudly as you drive, forgetting that your windows are wound down. And yes, I may be speaking from personal experience here.
I’ve saved my favourite of the newer tracks until last. I once listened to Can’t Stop The Rain on repeat for an hour. It’s incredible. “No matter how the world might change. You still can’t stop the rain”. This is a man whose words speak volumes. He’s optimistically realistic. Or maybe realistically optimistic. Whichever way round, this song is something special.
In fact, this album is something special. It’s oozing with emotion in it’s rawest form. If I had a hundredth of the songwriting talents Snape has I would think of myself as incredibly fortunate.
It has taken me a while to get into Sia. As an Australian female singer/songwriter with a bit more media coverage than most of my favourites, you’d have thought I’d have taken a listen a lot sooner. But I didn’t. It was only when I was prompted on Twitter to download Some People Have Real Problems that I gave her a chance to shine.
With album artwork echoing everything that is beautifully awkward about the Paint application, I was expecting something a bit quirky. And yes, having seen some of her videos on YouTube, they are a little bit different to the usual drones of miming and choreography that populates our charts. (See this video for her new single Clap Your Hands to find this out for yourself!)
Little Black Sandals has a catchy hook in the chorus. It’s floaty, without being too floaty. It’s more Joss Stone than Imogen Heap in floatiness, which I regard as a positive. Her voice is soulful and full of emotion which adds to the strength of the songs.
I don’t like lentils, but that hasn’t stopped my appreciation of Lentil. In particular the rhythm that accompanies the lyrics which helps to keep the song flowing for the entirety of it’s duration.
Day Too Soon is possibly my favourite song on the album. Her voice reminds me of Gabrielle with it’s huskiness at times. The narrative tells the classic “I’ve been waiting all my life” story before meeting that special one “not a day too soon”. It might be clichéd but it’s well structured to emote these feelings beautifully.
Upon reading the lyrics to You Have Been Loved they carry a lot of meaning. Perhaps they’re too dragged out in the song itself, but the craftsmanship lyrically is impressive. Simple metaphors are used to construct the story of an ending relationship.
Naming a song The Girl You Lost to Cocaine immediately has an impact upon the listener. It’s a bit ‘jazz meets pop meets non-shouty-but-powerful-singing’. Combining these aspects works well and produces a song that I can imagine could’ve been radio friendly were it not for the ten seconds or so instrumental in the middle in which you’re left to reflect on the song’s title.
The beginning of Academia screams Regina Spektor to me. But then things suddenly change and the quickly spoken words become haunting slow lyrics for the chorus. The contrast achieves something intriguing and ultimately rather pleasant. Oh, and she sings “If I am a number I am infinity plus one” – despite the lack of rationality in this statement I admire the use of ‘infinity’ in any context that doesn’t relate to Buzz Lightyear.
The lullaby-esque I Go to Sleep is a bit too tiring for my liking and Playground takes a while to get into, but Death by Chocolate is far superior. The verses introduce different ideas of ‘Death by…’ situations that are all rather poignant in making a point.
“Death by anger this is true
Just let him go he can’t hurt you
Oh little girl this is such a cruel, cruel world
this is the first, of a million broken hearts”
There’s something about Soon We’ll Be Found that reminds me of Paloma Faith. Electric Bird has background sounds of, unsurprisingly, birds. And Beautiful Calm Driving is, well it’s beautiful and calm.
It’s in Lullaby where the slower pace really shows off the softer vocals that Sia has to offer. Occasionally there’s the odd word that I found inaudible, but that’s what the huskiness of the vocals does. And I quite like it.
Ending with the upbeat Buttons, the album is full of variety. Sia has a great vocal range that suits several different types of songs. I’m glad I was advised to look into Sia; I shall now continue to spread the Sia love by suggesting that you do the same. Check her out. And then send any other recommendations in my direction!