What a year!
So much pressure and exhaustion and dashed hopes and expectations as COVID once again trashed its way across normal life and left us wondering which way is up and what is time.
Thankfully, while we have felt trapped in a prison not of our making, some very talented people have been making sweetly compulsive music, the kind which comes not simply with the propulsive urge to dance but with thoughtful, emotionally incisive lyrics that get the brain as engaged as suddenly busy feet.
The five artists featured here have pulled out all the stops, and while your spirit might feel tired and beleaguered now, you’ll feel a whole lot lifted up the end of their vibrantly effusive, meaningful tunes.
“Here Comes the Night” by Agnes
It is a rare thing indeed in this music release saturated digital age, to have any one song suddenly rise up and take your attention so completely that no other tracks get a look in days but that is precisely what happened when I came across the new track from 2005 Swedish Idol winner Agnes (aka Agnes Emilia Carlsson) via the very good people at Scandipop.
They boldly claimed the third single from the artist’s new album, Magic Still Exists, which releases today, as “the song of the year”, something which turned out to be far from hyperbole.
Her first long player since 2012’s Veritas (an EP was released in 2019), Magic Still Exists could not have announced itself more magnificently than with the high-powered, full speed ahead, massively danceable momentum of “Here Comes the Night” which the artist describes this way.
“My latest single, ‘Here Comes The Night’ is a homage to all of us out there who are longing to just let go. It is a declaration to the dreamers, the night, the mist, the spirituality. Those that dare to fall in love – with the moment, the people around them and themselves. Hopefully, it will guide the listener into a moment of something they can call freedom.” (Volatile Weekly)
It’s one of those tracks that makes your spirit soar, your heart gaze longingly at the door wondering you might go and brings you alive with the kind of euphoric joy that a pandemic-dampened reality had all but forgotten.
“Monday” by The Regrettes
Hailing from Los Angeles, pop punk band, The Regrettes ( style themselves as purveyors of “unapologetically honest pop songs”, something that is very much in evidence with “Monday” that is far more than just a brilliantly upbeat track.
“… as LA locked down, I felt a huge part of my Identity and ego being stripped away because of no touring, and no connecting with people at our shows. I’ve been touring since about age 12, so I had to come up with a new way to function in the world. It was really rough, and still is rough, but I found writing this song to be super therapeutic. It’s special that this is the first song we’ve put out in a while because it’s an important moment in time for me to mark. Part of the healing process for me is really learning and trying my best to keep on dancing the pain away so I hope people can relate to that and dance with me, even if it’s not at a show and in the safety of their own kitchen.” (Lydia Night, The Regrettes via the official band site)
It’s another of those songs to emerge from COVID lockdowns that flow from someone reassessing who they are with that very thing that defined them in “normal” times (what even are they?) and wondering how to navigate waters which are unchartered and to use a much too frequently employed word, unprecedented.
So for all the bright, jangly, jaunty fun of “Monday” and its intent to recovery and healing by dancing, there’s a lot of serious thoughtfulness bound in the track which only adds it as a song of our troubled disease-ridden times.
“Don’t Say That” by iamnotshane
Another Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter in iamnotshane (aka Shane Niemi) has another catchy as hell song to brighten our pandemic blues.
“Don’t Say That” has a delicious retro sheen to it and some very cool, adventurously idiosyncratic dancing and it comes, according to Broadway World, with some great messaging.
“An 80s-inspired synth-pop ode to shedding insecurities and embracing your inner weirdo, ‘Don’t Say That’ comes alongside another knockout self-directed video from iamnotshane. A wink to Britney Spears’ iconic ‘…Baby One More Time’ schoolhouse visual, the video embodies imnotshane’s not-so-subtle rallying cry to, ‘dance weird, have fun, fall in love, and not worry about what anybody thinks.'”
This yummy piece of dance pop perfection is a follow up to sort to his early 2021 alnum One Less Year Alive which sounds a lot less fun that it actually is.
“Ceilings” by Running Touch
Australian artist Running Touch has crafted an atnospherically-charged piece of upbeat ethereal but jaunty pop in “Ceilings”.
It’s a fine calling card for the artist from Melbourne, Victoria who not only sings but is handily talented as a songwriter and record producer.
“Ceilings” is a dynamic slice of captivatingly bright and light pop that Daily Beat has positively reviewed as “the latest extension of what his hard-work renders, soulful deep house pouring out as the vocals sweep up the imagination in surprising and meaningful ways.”
They go on to note that “Electronic bell notes put into repetition through arpeggios help develop the overall chill vibe that “Ceilings” communicates.”
With most of his single attracting over a million plays on Spotify, it’s a fair bet we’ll be hear a lot from a man who’s going to break through a few ceilings of his own on his way to stratospheric success.
With the release of their new album, Forever, looming (it drops November this year), Flight Facilities, an electronic producer duo from sunny Sydney, Australia, it makes perfect that they would be releasing the title track, with vocals delivered by New Zealand musical duo BROODS (Georgia Josiena Nott and brother Allan Joseph Nott).
The song is a vibrantly shimmering piece of pop that percolats with a steadily uplifting momentum that feels happily and spirit-buoying transitory while speaking of the lasting nature of things.
The song and its album mates are the product of an extended period of creativity and hard work that went on a tad longer than the duo expected, according to their statement about the album via AMNPLIFY.
“7 years ago, during an interview for the release of our first album Down To Earth, we joked ‘the next one probably won’t be done ’til 2020′. And somehow, here we are, staring down the barrel of 2022, holding the product of 5 years work. The best way to describe this album is a combination of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. As true as it was from our first release, the foundations and glue for all our work has consistently been ‘collaboration’. That is exemplified by Jono Ma’s integral role in the final, transformational stages of the album process. While our musical journey has always been an intentional exploration of multiple genres, our hearts and roots lie on the dance floor. We applied that same explorative ethos to this record, taking a concerted delve into the previously untouched niches and eras of dance. It’s been a long time coming, and only the same time will tell if it was worth the wait. That deliberation stems from a strive to make the type of music, which lasts as long as our creative process appears to take….’forever’.”
The good news is the wait was well and truly worth it with “Forever” an elegantly alive track that gets you dancing but wraps you in a hopeful that wherever you are going, it will be feel like forever in the very best of ways.
NEW ABBA SINGLE!
In the lead up to the 5 November release of Voyage, their first album in almost 40 years, ABBA have released a new single “Just a Notion”, first recorded in 1978 and never officially released except for a ninety-second snippet on the 1994 release Thank You For the Music. Finally, we have it all its glory, original vocals and all on an exciting day for all ABBA fans!
EUROVISION 2022 UPDATE
Exciting news! Hot on the heels that Turin will host the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 …
… comes news that 41 countries will take part in next year’s event with the addition to last year’s count of Armenia and Montenegro! Alas no sign of Turkey or Hungary returning to the fold but there’s always 2023!