Light and dark.
They go together more often than we’d like to admit in life, the melancholic sitting cheek-by-jowl with the ecstatic, and so it makes perfect sense that it would find expression in music.
The five bands and duos features know this lesson of life well and have distilled it with ease into five songs that speak of life’s less than ideal than moments but marry with the kind of music that suggest hope and a sense that all is not lost.
It may not quite be a case of life got you down, get up and boogie but it’s close and really that’s all you need.
“Actor” by Max and the Moon
“Actor” kicks off with the jauntiest of musical openings, an effervescent piece of pop from the SoCal indie band with some less than giddily happy lyrics about the way life doesn’t always play out in the way you think it will.
It asks the question over and over as it recounts failed thespian dreams and way too much alcohol at one too many parties “Who do you want to be?”
Fairly strong lyrics, laced with a little sarcastic criticism, that marry perfectly with the guitar-driven upbeat melody, a pleasing marriage of light and dark at which pop excels if its allowed to do so.
This is somewhat of a departure for the band but a pleasing one, a radio-friendly song that doesn’t surrender its soul in the search for more airplay.
“Go!” by Postiljonen
There is a fantastic urgent energy right out the gate from “Go!” which kicks it into high gear and doesn’t slow for a second throughout its 3 1/2 running time.
Postiljonen, a shimmering lush pop three piece from Sweden, deliver each and every utterance of “Go!” as if their lives depends on it, the almost-pleading vocals and high-energy soaring music perfectly encapsulating the song’s message, according to the band, of doing something, anything rather than just sitting there when life backs you into a corner:
“There are times when you feel stuck, trapped, without a clue of what to do. Wherever you are in life, in whatever place or age, you need a little kick to release yourself, take your life back. You can do whatever you want, you are beautiful. Remember our souls are burning with love and life, the road is in our hands, there is no other way out, just ‘Go!'”
The band is usually known for quieter fare but this song works, and works brilliantly, delivering a necessary dose of “get your ass moving!” to anyone who feels like life has stopped dead in its tracks, which at one point or another is pretty much all of us right?
“Adventure” by Cheat Codes
LA-based Cheat Codes, who take their name from the virally-circulated list of button combinations that let video games leap ahead in a video game, have crafted a dazzling cheery piece of pop in “Adventure” (produced by Evan Gartner) that begs for a departure form the endless pretense of not quite living out your dreams.
“All I want is an adventure
For the dreams in my head
Cause I’m tired of pretending
Give me something I won’t forget.”
But rather than place their wholly-understandable begging and pleading for something new and different into a dirge-like lament, they have chosen instead a delightfully bright piece of danceable pop that surges and swoops with gleeful intent throughout and suggest the look and feel of the very out-of-the-box outing they want to undertake.
They may not have quite got their adventure just yet but the synth-driven song suggests it can’t be too far off, with an airily optimistic vibe coursing through every bar of music and every thoughtful lyric.
“Bad feat. Jessame” by Lost Kings
Slip on your neo-disco dancing shoes all you John Travolta wanna-bes!
LA-based dance duo Lost Kings has delivered up a glorious piece of R&B-laced disco perfection in “Bad” than features the suitably summer-sultry vocals of Jessame.
And as YourEDM notes, it comes with the sort of joyous sensibility we’ve come to expect from this talented twosome:
“[‘Bad’] captures that quintessential “feel good” Lost Kings sound with smooth summer disco production in the form of synths and funky piano chords as well Jessame’s R&B inspired vocals.”
And even though the song is all about longing and love just out of reach, if it doesn’t quite work out there’s always some dancing which covers a multitude of broken dreams and frustrated hearts.
“Talk/Brag” by Philco Fiction
“Talk/Brag” starts off slowly with a slow-building intro and contemplative verses before breaking into poundingly-insistent choruses that declare with steely-eyed intent “‘I’m a lover, lover, lover. I’m a force. I’m a mother. And I’m never, never, never gonna let you down – leave you alone.'”
Lead singer of the Oslo, Norway-based band, Turid Alida’s vocals surge with a fervency that suggests she isn’t just singing the lyrics but living them out in every strongly-declared word.
In a piece on The Line of Best Fit, Philco Fiction talks about why the lyrics come with such urgency and meaning:
“We wanna talk about our place in this world. We wanna brag about our potential as human beings. Tell everyone we are here to love. Tell everyone we want a piece of it.”
Listening to this song, which dances between lingering melodic introspection and synth-heavy powerful moments of unstoppable energy, you are left in no doubt that this band means business.
NOW THIS IS MUSIC EXTRA EXTRA!
The BBC has announced that it will conducting an open submission process where amateurs and professionals alike can submit an original song for consideration.
Budding songwriters and performers will also be able to submit their entry via OGAE, the UK branch of the world’s biggest Eurovision fan club, a songwriting competition run by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and through the British music industry itself.
So get writing people! There’s no time to waste.
Here’s the UK entry for this year’s Eurovision, Electro Velvet performing “Still in Love With You” …
Enya has announced she’ll be releasing her first new album in 7 years, Dark Sky Islands, on November 20 with lead single “Echoes In Rain”, the last song recorded for the album.
It features Enya’s trademark lush vocals, and richly-layered melodies, with Enya working longtime collaborators producer and sound engineer Nicky Ryan and lyricist Roma Ryan.
Asked why she’d left it so long to release a follow-up to 2008’s Christmas-themed And Winter Came …, she had this to say.
“I took a break. Because with [1988’s] Watermark going into [1991’s] Shepherd Moon, [1995’s] Memory of Trees, there’s a three-year gap but I was in the studio for the three years. I had little breaks, but it took three years to put each album together.”
It’s never easy waiting for one of your favourite artists to release new music but in this case, the long wait appears to have been worth it.