Favorite Songs: Yola Carter ‘Faraway Look’

You know that feeling when you hear the first notes of a song and your heart flutters and you feel the love washing over you and then the vocals start and its everything you wanted it to be?

Yola Carter’s new single “Faraway Look” is my love at first tender note. With a soft morning light coming straight from the 70s, with the euphoric chorus of a Mamas and the Papas song, Yola sings “That faraway look in your eyes, it’s getting harder to disguise”.

This is a love song for people who love to dream and to think of better things. And I’ll be damned if we don’t need more alternative love songs. This song is the embodiment of levitating through the day, gazing through people, through buildings and hours to some place, some time and something that fulfills you, that gives you joy and fills you with hope. It’s the 21st century’s equivalent to “your own kind of music” that we never knew we needed but that we obviously needed. I also thought of the amazing P.P. Arnold who knew how to start slow and then go all out in the chorus.

The arrangement is gorgeous, we get the whole orchestra and it’s a lovely soothing background for Yola’s incredible voice (no surprises there, her voice is amazing). I have to say, I never did and never will grow out of these over top dramatic arrangements like these because why hold back when you have so many emotions?

If this is the kind of music that is to be expected from Yola’s forthcoming album, I am so so so excited.

And because Yola sounds equally amazing live, here’s the song live on Jools Holland again. GOOSEBUMPS!

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Pop goes: Miley Cyrus ft. Mark Ronson “Nothing breaks like a heart”

Sigh. Miley Cyrus is my problematic fave. I am truly aware of her appropriation (and then shitting on) black culture and especially the latter is a huge disappointment because there’s no reason for it. For once, I’d like to hear one of those pop starlets to just own up to it and say: yeah, I appropriated the hell out of a culture because I was ignorant. But I learned my lesson and I am sorry and I want to do better in the future.

But whenever Miley Cyrus does Country music with a cool pop spin, I am head over heels in love with her song (see also: “Younger Now” or her beautiful cover of “Look what they’ve done to my song“).

I still think that Miley Cyrus could be one of the greats, despite her rather so-so-album last year. She has the voice and the talent to really make songs her own and she is really good at intersecting traditional country with modern influences which suits her best whenever it’s a little melancholic or dark. “Nothing breaks like a heart” shows how mesmerizing the result can be (even though the video is just befuddling and very “We can’t stop”, I preferred the weird retro-look of “Younger now”, to be honest).

And there is a niche, because Country has been quite exciting in the last couple of years, with a lot of (especially female) singers who shake the genre up and make it theirs. Even though the drawling, finger-guns-country is still going strong, the experimental, alternative side of country has been wild (see here, here and here). Just imagine a whole album of gems like “Nothing breaks like a heart” and “Younger now”, it would be a bop for the lonely broken-hearted souls (and me, even though I am neither!). MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Favorite Song: Ivy Sole – “Dream Girl” is a soft cloud of love

I am absolutely floored, how much comfort and warmth this song has. The song is from Ivy’s Album “Eden” and heavily references an innocent, open vulnerability in a relationship, close to the purity that Adam and Eve (and for a short while, Lilith) had back in the Garden.

Her style in this song is beautiful, laid-back old school rap, add to that her lovely singing and a gorgeous stripped-down production and this is a song to start the day, to take a break from things, to soothe your soul.

Favorite Song: Anna Calvi ‘Don’t beat the girl out of my boy’ is intense!

Whether it’s that late 80s early 90s indie guitar or that banger of a chorus, Anna Calvi’s new single is absolutely mesmerizing. It’s such a statement piece, a true, pure single that takes bits and pieces of older pop but reframes them in ways that place this song steadily in the year 2018. This is alternative post punk rolled up in the pathos of Frankie goes to Hollywood. And that video – well, I am not into sexy videos but this is one heck of a sexy video.

I recommend the whole album (“Hunter”) by the way, because it’s basically this song but different. Everything on this album is super intense, retrograde 80s and brilliant. It is a bop.

Favorite Song: Max Koffler ‘The Fire is yours’ – the start of something

Guys, after a thousand years without any blog-related mail, I got TWO requests by musicians to review their stuff. One of them is Max Koffler, a Berlin based musician who also does soundtracks and released his most recent album “Games” in 2017.

Now, I don’t know what to make of the album because it’s a little too eclectic for me. Since I am a super mega hyper fan of concept albums and threads woven throughout musical themes, track lists and lyrics, I am always a little put off by albums that switch it up too much. It’s not a bad album and if you like a good mixtape, it certainly delivers but for me, it was just one, two genres too many on one record.

BUT! There’s quite a few songs that would be absolutely amazing as starting points for an EP or album. “The Fire is yours”, for example, is a beautiful, truly beautiful singer/songwriter song with a sinister feeling to it, Max Koffler singing seemingly somewhere in the dark, echoing through the song like a memory you can’t get rid of. The subtle use of synth magic towards the end and a gorgeous last third act of the song hint towards greatness. Give me an album in that vein and with that sound and I will sing hymns about it.

One of the reasons why this song really works for me is the fact that it makes me want to see how it translates onto the stage.

That video, though. That’s like the Weird Al-version of a video. 

Favorite Songs: Bill Withers ‘Grandma’s Hands’

Like many of my generation I first came into contact with this song due to its use in “No Diggity” by Blackstreet back in 1996. But the original is not just a nice sample, it’s an example of how great songwriting can really connect people. Wither’s memories of his grandmother Luna in church and his grandmother soothing, teaching and protecting despite her age and ailings are absolutely wonderful.

The mourning of her passing in the last lines nearly goes by unnoticed because the memories of her are so strong that she still seems to be there.

I really adore songs that are true and vulnerable and full of love. “Grandma’s Hands” is a song that connects because it’s about family and most of us can relate having a family member (or a friend) who always seemed to be there and help and soothe and spoil.

And yes, I do remember my grandma’s hands and how they always smelled of dove hand cream and how they moved when she sat on her couch knitting, like little birds, waving a nest or how they so delicately held her cup of tea as if she was dancing with the porcelain.

Favorite Song: Chastity Brown ‘Wake up’ – Roadtrip Melancholy

I neither own or drive a car but I still have a Spotify-playlist called “Roadtrip Melancholy” which verges on cheese but only so and can be summarized by “music that is like Roy Orbison’s ‘I drove all night’”.

So, when I heard the first driving beats from Chastity Brown’s song “Wake up” (from her album “Silhouette of Siren’s” and her voice sang the line “don’t you ever miss me, when you’re gone”, I knew it fit that playlist like a glove.

The song is a weird mixture of 90s songwriting with a little alternative mixed in there but also a heap of country (especially in the chorus). There’s so much space with the instrumentation and I guess that’s part of what I wanted for the playlist: music that creates wide spaces, that has a sense of distance, of winding roads, ever changing scenery and a weird yearning towards something, anything. It’s a perfect song.

(also, that ring is gorgeous)

Brown’s music is beautiful, her voice has little texture, the kind that turns everything a little bit more alternative. But there’s a great warmth in there as well, so her songs (like “Drive Slow”) really sooth your soul even if they’re sad.