The days they are lockdowned.
Well, not for everyone in the strict sense of the word but with COVID refusing to go away, many people continue to find their lives constrained by a pandemic that has robbed us of so much capacity to go and do and feel what we like, where they like.
Thankfully music, like movies and books and online games, isn’t so held back, evidenced by these five artists (or pairings) who take their music and lyrics to some very cool places, rich with insight, imagination, thoughtfulness and the kind of unrestrained creativity that we are mightily indeed in an age where freedom ain’t what it used to be.
Listen, feel, enjoy and make get some small sense of what it’s like to let you heart run free, even if at the moment, it might only be in your heart (and your home, of course) …
“Forgot About” by Priya Ragu
There is something utterly arresting about Tamil-Swiss artist Priya Ragu who Warner Music Australia bill as the type of person who “only comes around once in a generation”.
A lofty tribute indeed but it is wholly justified when you listen to “Forget About”, a track that is infused with the stunning emotiveness of the singer’s voice which lends the stellar R & B track a brilliantly compelling beauty.
It’s not only musically captivating with the singer having this to say, via The Line of Best Fit, about the lyrical heart of the track.
“‘Forgot About’ is about being in love with that ‘forever person’, who has feelings for you but it’s not quite love. It’s about being afraid of letting go, because you know that you’ll never meet someone like this again in your lifetime – so you decide to carry them always in your heart.”
It is exquisitely, gorgeously beautiful, one of those songs that wraps itself around you, fills you up and feels like everything you have ever felt about everything.
“Stare” by Poté
“Stare” by is one of those perfect pieces of pop where music, lyrics and vocals go together so breathlessly well that you marvel at the brilliance of its composition.
The drivingly haunting beat marries sublimely and affectingly well with the lyrics that explore, according to the Paris-based artist via The Line of Best Fit, what it feels like to be “in a vicious cycle with anxiety and paranoia where we feel there’s no escape, no space to breathe.”
If you are, like this reviewer, grappling with stratospheric levels of anxiety due to the COVID pandemic, this song should resonate profoundly with you, as it explores on just about every level how suffocatingly closed in life can get at times.
The track is lifted from Poté’s album, A Tenuous Tale of Her, which came out on 4 June.
The partnership of Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman, in the guise of his solo persona Mr Jukes, and London rapper Barney Artist is one of those perfect partnerships for which you can thank whichever god you believe in.
Because not only does “Vibrate”, the follow-up to “Blowin’ Steam (Open Your Mind)” feel like all the good things ever, it is the product of the work of two people who actually like each other as Barney explains via NME.
“‘Vibrate’ was the very last song we made for the album. It really summarises mine and Jack’s relationship which is great vibes with a meaningful message.”
Apart from the chilled warmth and fun of the track, which is there in abundance, the song the album is from the pair’s joint album The Locket, the aim of which, rather happily, is “to bring hope to people after the maddest year.” (Barney Artist via The Line of Best Fit)
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Black Widow Opening Credits) by Malia J
Good lord but this is atmospheric.
A cover of Nirvana’s epicly iconic track “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, the song used in the hauntingly emotional opening credits of Black Widow, Marvel’s first cinematic release in two years, is the inspired work of Malia J, an Hawaiian singer-songwriter whose voice captures a whole other level of melancholic angst in a track already redolent with it.
Malia J and the cinema-inclined composter collective Think Up Anger, who compose, in their own words, “cinematic music with an edge”, were approached in February 2020, according to Den of Geek to soundtrack the exposition-rich start of Black Widow, an offer that didn’t get quite the expected response, according to Consequence Film.
“‘We honestly thought it was a joke and didn’t immediately respond,’ [Malia J] says. ‘ A different version of this cover has been circulating in the TV/film industry since 2015, and I can only speculate that someone from their camp was a fan and wanted to put it in the movie!”
It’s a good thing they took it seriously because this rendition of the classic track is searingly, heart-stoppingly emotive, a brilliant evocative piece of music that sets the scene for a film that is heavy with the darkness of the human heart.
“Going Down” by Circe
Hailing from London, Circe, the artistic moniker of singer-producer-multi-instrumentalist Alexa Povey, rather winningly describes her persona to Hidden Herd, as “A dreamy, dramatic, soundtrack of a scared sacred heart. Emotional but empowering – I hope.”
You can hear every facet of that richly poetic description in “Going Down” which The Line of Best Fit talked about thus.
“‘Going Down’ sees Circe further embrace the giddy rush of sensuality, this time centered around an intense crush. Inspired by the erotic writings of Anaïs Nin and the iconic visuals of Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, Circe dissolves the guilt that’s often associated with female & queer pleasure in the track’s opening line – ‘I’m not supposed to / but I fucking love you’ – and proceeds to dive head first into a series of fluctuating romantic sensations through her evocative lyrics, dense beats and sultry vocals.”
The clip comes with some really fun visual flourishes marking her as one of those cool artists who not only has some insightful things to say through her music but really imaginative ways to express it, lyrically, musically and visually.
SONGS, SONGS AND MORE SONGS EXTRA!
Coldplay has a new album coming on 15 October and here is your ringside trailer to sample its songs …