Creative pursuits are often portrayed as lone wolf activities – the aspiring writer in their room, the suffering artist torturously painting in their studio – but the truth is, many artistic people collaborate to great effect and far more often than you might realise.
There is something deeply satisfying about sharing your love of your art with a like-minded soul, which is something many of today’s artists have found as they make sweet, infectiously listenable music together, and happily, bring us along for the ride.
The results are brilliantly good to listen to, think about and luxuriate in with the sum of the talents combined far greater than the apparent whole.
So, sit back, grab some headphones and lose yourself in the wonderful place that is collaborative creation and be thankful that we are privileged to bear witness to it.
“Walking on Water” (ft. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs) by The Knocks
Great musical collaborations between two enormously talented people or groups are always a joy.
That’s certainly the case with “Walking on Water” a song by US electronic music duo The Knocks (Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson) that features Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, a project of British electronic music producer, DJ and singer-songwriter, Orlando Tobias Edward Higginbottom.
It’s an exuberantly upbeat danceable blend of pop perfection which has been on the backburner for quite some time looking for the right time to see the light of day, according to The Knocks.
“This was the first song we made for our third album over two years ago and we haven’t stopped loving it since.” (Acid Stag)
Thank god it’s finally with us because the song is light, bright, a literal love song to being in love with music perfectly suited to that joyous sensibility.
Falling in love or meeting a very special new friend is like a seismic charge going off in the tired status quo of your life.
English artist Griff (aka Sarah Faith Griffiths), and Norwegian Sigrid, both of which are talented singer-songwriters, know exactly what that feels like and have poured into their collaboration, “Heads on Fire”.
“It’s about that feeling when you meet someone who just flips everything upside down and you can’t focus on anything else but that person.” (NME)
It’s a clear love letter to their blossoming, pandemic-birthed friendship – “Griff and I met sharing a pizza at the Rueben Selby show at Fashion Week in London…We went to the studio a while later and just had a day of talking about life, before writing ‘Head On Fire'” (NME) – and to the joyously good things that have flowed from it such as this repeat listen until the end of time track.
As celebrations of newness and possibility go, it’s masterful, the perfect distillation of what an exciting future of friendship looks like.
Sticking with the fertile, instantly listenable collabs for another song, “Forgot About Me” is a brilliantly catchy piece of indie dance music from three talented artists who know their way around infectiously good pop.
Together, English electronic music duo Aluna (Aluna Francis, George Reid), American songwriter, DJ, and record producer Diplo (Thomas Wesley Pentz) and US music producer and DJ Durante have created an vivaciously alive track which celebrates the new things in your life while telling the old ones to get the hell out.
But as Aluna reveals below, it also has an inspiring message behind it …
“This song is about that moment when you’ve cleaned up the trash pile that was once your heart — you’re feeling yourself and you’ve worked out how to be alone but the past comes back to haunt you, hungry for your new self love and abundant vibes. Those are the moments you have to stay strong and really forget about your old love so that new fresh love can waltz into your life. When the one that got away comes back…what you gonna do? That’s not what I call destiny, you deserve better.” (Aluna via Acid Stag)
As rallying calls go, it’s a gem that’s worth listening to and very much taking lyrically to heart.
“Shinigami Eyes” by Grimes
Canadian musician, singer-songwriter and record producer Grimes is a sublimely compelling artist on all kinds of levels.
Gifted with the ability to shepherd melodically vibrant songs with power and punch into being and the conceive of startlingly arresting visuals to accompany them, she is a unique musical presence who offers songs that combine a raft of styles and ideas with Wikipedia noting that her music incorporates “dream pop, electronic, R&B, and hip hop, while touching on science fiction and feminist themes.”
Her beguilingly eclectic style is on full display with “Shinigami Eyes”, a song infused with “a snapping beat and bright synths” (NME) which according to NME “refers to the manga Death Note, with characters with shinigami eyes able to see people’s names and lifespans.”
“Speaking to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Grimes said of “Shinigami Eyes”: ‘I love the record, but it’s just like, everyone’s like, what’s the deeper meaning? And it’s like, well, Nino Angelo just really had just watched Death Note and really liked it. Basically, I wrote the whole space opera thing and this is the only song that wasn’t this big narrative plot.'” (NME)
It all adds to a deliciously different pop song with arrestingly good visuals to match which will captivate you over and over again.
“Light Switch” by Charlie Puth
Hailing from the United States, Charlie Puth can do it all, happily singing, songwriting and record producing, his talents manifesting themselves in a series of cacthy tracks including “Light Switch” which bemoans a casual hook ups unwilling to take things further.
He feels like they simply turn him on a light switch, a casualness of attraction that he doesn’t deny but which doesn’t appear to be enough for him anymore.
While the lyrical subject matter might be something all of us have experienced at sometime, the production of the song is not, with Marquette Wire noting that the creation of the song was documented on social media some five months before its eventual release.
“The energetic, fun and almost ’80s reminiscent pop tune released Jan. 20, accompanied by the song’s music video. The song was a long time coming, as viewers of Puth’s TikTok profile would attest. The initial video which introduced the song’s inspiration (yes, the sound of a light switch being flicked on) was posted Sept. 16, 2021.
“The TikTok in question boasted 20 million views in less than 24 hours, and was immediately followed by another TikTok Sept. 17, 2021, in which Puth teased releasing the song if it received 100,000 pre-saves on Spotify.
“Over the next couple of months, Puth documented writing different sections of the track, including humorous calls from his record label hurrying him to finish the song. The videos soon took on a life of their own as other creators on TikTok took to duetting Puth’s content, using other everyday noises to make sound effects for songs, some even poking fun at Puth’s process of producing ‘Light Switch’.”
It’s a cool 21st century way of making music and the best part? The song is intensely, wonderfully, relatably listenable, a piece of lush pop with a brilliantly emotional centre.
EUROVISION 2022 UPDATE
We have more national entries confirmed from France, Serbia, Romania, Denmark, UK, Cyprus, Belgium and Switzerland. (Each of the clips by the way is followed by a reaction video from the fabulous folks at Eurovision Hub, where they exist, who makes the absolute best Eurovision vids out there.)