song of the week (…s)

Hello! So, I haven’t posted anything in a while. I had exams for about a month, followed by my summer job which I am now still at. Thing is, I started this blog mainly as a space for me where I could babble about songs I love in a space where it didn’t feel like I was just irritating those listening. I’ve missed it a lot, and really don’t want my responsibilities to completely block me from doing that which I love.

So to follow on from that, I owe many thanks to the Irish joy that is Mr Niall Horan. Yes, the guy from 1D who is far more talented than many people would like to admit. This evening I decided I could take a brief moment to check out his cover of ‘Issues’ by Julia Michaels. I expected it to stick to the general gist of the song, just with his voice which I find increasingly addictive (and for that in itself felt it was worth listening to). That which I ended up hearing, was so much more.

I recommend this cover wholeheartedly. Just put your headphones in or speakers on, close your eyes and listen. Maybe it is just me who gets an odd wave of calm as I listen to this unique take on the song, but I really hope not. It’s a gift I really hope to pass on with this recommendation. So, with that in mind, here is ‘Issues’ by Niall Horan in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge –

 

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Zara Larsson ft. Clean Bandit

symphony

Everybody stop what you are doing. Clean Bandit have come out with another absolute slay of a song. I expect to hear this everywhere within the next month, but a quick listen to Zara Larsson’s new album has led me to it a little earlier. I think this one sells itself – give it a listen right now!

Song of the Week 16.03.17

This week it is ‘Powerful’ by Major Lazer (ft. Ellie Goulding and Tarrus Riley). I seem to be going back to 2015 with a lot of my choices lately, clearly it was just a great year. This one is so catchy and I have to say, Ellie’s part is what nails it. Her vocals are so distinct and raw, particularly the last part from 3:05 onwards. Let me know what you think!

Song of the Week (01.03)

Jess Glynne – ‘Right Here’

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So it’s time for another Song of the Week and this time it’s a tune that I keep returning to by the lovely Jess Glynne. The song ‘Right Here’ off the album I Cry when I Laugh, which has to be in the category of the best content 2015 had to offer us, is perfection. Her instantly recognisable vocals are blended to a mix of brass bands with a pop beat for your feet to tap away to (proof – my flatmate is doing just that as I listen to it now in the kitchen). Honestly, if you haven’t given Jess Glynne a proper listen yet, I strongly recommend you do. She is definitely in my top ten artists of all time.

Ed in the Live Lounge

ed1(Photo credit: Ed Sheeran – Shape Of You in the Live Lounge, Radio 1 on YouTube)

I feel like this one is just necessary. If you haven’t yet, make sure you take 30 minutes out of your day to go and listen to Ed’s Live Lounge session with Radio 1 (you can even multitask by just having it on the background, but I promise it will enrich your day).

My favourite one has to be ‘Castle on the Hill’Though I love the original (- and the words When I was six years old will forever now conjure up that tune in my mind), the live lounge version really gave room for Ed’s voice to come through more on the track. So excuse me whilst I go stream the acoustic version of this song on repeat.

Also, I really hope Radio 1 are planning on releasing his cover of ‘Touch’ by Little Mix because it gave the song a whole new angle (though I have to say I love the original and do not agree with the concept that playing the Little Mix version is, as one listener put it, “socially unacceptable”- let’s all just listen to what we think is good;) )

The whole session is available on iPlayer for those of you in the UK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p04sxlt4/live-lounge-ed-sheeran-live-lounge-special

Song of the week (22.02.)

selena ft kygo.jpgThis week it has to be the new single from Kygo and Selena Gomez, ‘It ain’t me’. I am somewhat obsessed with this one at the moment. I took a train from Glasgow to Birmingham over the weekend and listened to pretty much nothing else for 5 hours straight. There’s just something about her voice that is incredibly addictive, and then when the beat drops – it’s one hell of a bop. I have the feeling this one is going to go big. So here it is:

Lana’s “Love”

When Lana Del Rey releases a song, I’m always uncertain what to expect. Will it be a melodic gift with those uniquely raw vocals, or will it be somewhat unusual (bordering on sinister?).  Usually, I love it. Even the unusual ones – my head goes to ‘Off to the Races’ as I type – grow on me. This new single though, it doesn’t need any time. As I currently listen to it for the fourth time on repeat, I can’t help but be lulled by the sound of her voice telling me all about the beauty of youth in love. It’s hypnotic music at its best.

Song of the Week (14.02)

I created this concept on a fridge white board in my flat and we love it, so I figured, why not on the blog as well.

So this week’s song of the week is a slightly random one, but I am in love with ‘Almost Famous’ by Noah Cyrus. Her voice is a combination of Miley and Lana which = a very excited me waiting for the first album.

Listen and love it 😉 xx

The stigma of a “Fan Girl”

How do we define a good musician? There are too many opinions, too many genres, too many experiences, too many interpretations, too many feelings, in the world for us to be able to fully establish what can be defined as ‘good’ music. Art is subjective, that much is accepted. The strange side of this accepted fact, is that it seems we can still define what can be classified as ‘bad’ music. Names of those that have had to deal with this label, who spontaneously fall into my head now include: Justin Bieber, One Direction, Mcfly, Little Mix, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift – the list could go on for a while. I imagine that some readers already have a mental recoil at having to take in so many of these names at once.

My argument is a simple one. These artists are discredited because, although they have unprecedented success, it is a success which is fueled by a young female audience. Young women from the age of twelve to eighteen, are labelled as “insane”, “screaming” girls, who aren’t capable of reigning in their hormones. It seems peculiar that in an era where we are finally beginning to embrace representation and acceptance of all differences in the music industry, this stigma reveals no signs of disappearing any time soon. To say an artist with a female audience is not a “real musician” unworthy of any success, is to invalidate the opinion and views of the millions of girls whom they inspire.

Arguably, there is an element of hysteria to the life of a ‘fangirl’, a term which in itself accurately embodies the condescendence to which I am referring. It is the expression of a love for something in excess. However, two questions arise from this observation. Firstly, why the need to criticise it? The fact that girls are able to experience so much love for a particular music which comforts and unites them, ought to be celebrated. Particularly amidst the weight of so many other social pressures they are persistently confronted with. Secondly, is it only these young women who are capable of extreme enthusiasm? Because when I have to squeeze onto a crowded subway, packed with men and women whose faces our plastered with flags, ready to pour into a football stadium two pints down, it seems not. Ironically (and at the risk of making a generalisation) these are the very same people who would criticise a fifteen-year-old for wearing a flower crown as bright as her smile, as she enters the concert she has spent the last year looking forward to.

The most bizarre aspect underlying this hypocrisy, is that young women make for an incredibly powerful force behind any musician. A more committed audience does not exist. Take the Beatles; today anyone from the age of twelve to eighty, can claim to be a fan of their music and receive a respectful nod in response. Yet back in the 1960s, who was responsible for ‘Beatlemania’? Young women. Thousands of young women, who, as one critic portrays it, were viewed as ‘mindless, “pitiable victims”, hypnotised by their grotesque idols.’[1] Are we to still apply this description to their fans today? It seems unlikely.

Is the ‘Bieber Fever’ of 2010, or the ‘One Direction Infection’ a few years later, not the equivalent of ‘Beatlemania’? If history is anything to go by, their records will happily be received by an entirely new audience in fifty years’ time. In the case of Bieber, this change has already taken place (also to be accredited to a successful shift in branding). If we look at One Direction however, the negative connotation continues to be present. Despite this, their fans form an incredibly dedicated and cohesive group. One only needs to look at the figures; from breaking chart records set by the Beatles,[2] to the impressive figures of ‘Project No Control’ in which their self-release of a single rose its sales by 1, 674% and placed it #1 on the Billboard charts.[3]

To observe this information, and yet continue to claim that these do not represent “true” musicians, is the equivalent of announcing that it’s not raining just because you are holding an umbrella. Masses of people across the world have identified that these musicians can sing and can perform. Consequently, it should not matter who these people are. Their music taste deserves the same respect as everyone else. That is why we have music, to celebrate and define ourselves in all of our diversity.

 

 

 

[1] André Millard. Beatlemania: Technology, Business, and Teen Culture in Cold War America (JHU Press: 2012)

[2] http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/6745031/one-direction-beatles-record-fifth-top-10-debut-hot-100

[3] http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/6575675/one-direction-no-control-twitter-top-tracks

 

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