Snap Back – Sweet Love by M Beat ft Nazlyn

Sweet Love by M Beat ft Nazlyn 1994

What: Sweet Love
Who: Jungle outfit M Beat featuring female vocals by Nazlyn
When: 1994
Genre: Jungle
What’s the vibe: Cover of the 1986 RnB original, of the same name, by US singer Anita Baker.
Rating: 4/5 (Little bit dated now, but still a classic and great for any old school party)

 

Too Much Flash?

Too Much Flash?

I remember growing up in urban Britain, there were these “dirty old men” who got off on flashing their bits to women and children.  Commonly known as dirty old men.  Often around areas in their flasher macs.  Yes you all know what I mean.  This probably still happens and to most people its just a weird, seedy thing to do.  Now most of you reading this probably think, what the hell has this got to do with a music site?  Don’t worry Ed isn’t making an admission here, but read on.

There seems to be a current craze for women connected to or in music to show a little more flesh than is perhaps necessary.  This post is being written by a man and by the way and not a prudish man.  However if you take the gender angle out of this, the image of women is being degraded on a pretty consistent basis at the moment.  Now this is where the abuse by trolls and some readers will probably commence.

Look at some of the recent examples though.  The slightly risqué but not really offensive outfits of some of the guests on the red carpet at the recent VMAs.  I mean who saw what Amber Rose was wearing (or wasn’t really wearing).  Whilst that just bordered on the ridiculous and on the outskirts of provocative within the seedy postcode that is just a choice of clothing that may or not be appropriate.

Amber Rose 2014 VMA Awards

Amber Rose 2014 VMA Awards

What seems to be an increasingly familiar occurrence are those “wardrobe malfunctions”.  Years ago Janet Jackson got a lot of headline news with her infamous boob slip.  Whilst you can give her the benefit of the doubt and say it was a malfunction, it was hardly part of an ongoing image.

Loosely related to music, public attention seeker, Nicole Scherzinger has a recent wardrobe malfunction.  The wind “blew open” her shirt whilst leaving the Radio 1 building.  Again whilst that may have been true, she was hardly in a hurry to cover herself up and didn’t seem to make an effort to stop herself getting lapped showing items of clothing that only Lewis Hamilton should probably see.

Several have happened in the years since, however, just this last week there have been two.  The lovely and elegant Nicki Minaj whom just exudes class completely exposed herself during a performance at the VMAs.  Whilst it may have been a genuine wardrobe malfunction when coupled with her overall profile at present you just can’t believe it was.

That leads us to the big issue.  Minaj seems to be battling it out with Miley Cyrus in terms of who can create the biggest storm.  Who can grab the met attention and who can be the most risqué or provocative.  They both show themselves off way too much and are genuinely degrading themselves in a sad attempt to get themselves noticed.  So much so that it is distracting from their musical talent.  But then again, there in the nutshell lies the problem.  Neither is particularly talented and are happy to use what their mumma gave them to grab attention and in turn make some dollar.

In doing so, these people in the public eye are sending out the message to their young and impressionable audience that this is OK to do.  In fact, in today’s throw away society, a number of youngsters sole ambition is to become famous.  It doesn’t even seem to be about money anymore.  If the likes of Miley and Minaj are happy to exploit themselves to grab attention and create buzz then what does that do to the next generation?

Perhaps this is an extreme view.  Perhaps I am being unfair.  Perhaps the wardrobe malfunctions are exactly that.  If they are, then stay away from the places Nicole Scherzinger and Nicki Minaj shop for their clothes as you too could end up showing a bit more than you had intended.

The worrying thing for me is that these incidents and the growing attention the risqué celebrity profiles are gaining sets a precedent.  Impressionable youngsters might look at this and adopt the same mentality.  There are hints Ariana Grande may already be going doing this route.  I for one hope she doesn’t.

This isn’t meant to be a preach, this is an observation.  Whilst there is nothing wrong with women or men showing their form, this can’t become the trend that defines popularity, attention or celebrity status.  Lets get back to people being known for doing something, not for showing something.

Thank you and good night.

Snap Back – Killing Me Softly by The Fugees 1996

Killing Me Softly by The Fugees 1996


What: Killing Me Softly
Who: The Fugees
When: 1996
Genre: Hip Hop / RnB
What’s the vibe: Cover of Roberta Flack 60’s hit. Haunting vocals by Lauryn Hill against some great beats.
Rating: 5/5

Intro to Snap Back

Intro to Snap Back

We all love music, otherwise we wouldn’t be here today. And music triggers off all different types of things, so with that in mind, we launch Snap Back.  It is basically a collection of videos from the past, that just mean something.  Might get us in the mood for a night out.  It might remind us of a touching moment from the past. It might just be a great tune.

Anyway, if you have any nominations, let us know.

Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince

Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince

 

I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss by Sinead O’Connor (Review)

Review of I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss by Sinead O’Connor

Sinead O’Connor is back.  The shaven headed, diminutive irish songstress will perhaps always be best remembered for her huge hit Nothin Compares 2 U, written by music legend Prince.  In that track she exposed what seemed like a vulnerability and shyness, backed by the stripped back video, where her beauty shone through.  That despite some critics slating her for her look, which was unheard of at the time for a female performer.

Sinead O'Connor Album Image

Sinead O’Connor Album Image

How times have changed.  Sinead is still a great singer and she hasn’t lost any of her looks.  However, there is no hint of vulnerability or shy undertones anymore.  Sinead O’Connor has become one of the most outspoken women in music.  With a view on everything it seems, including how Miley Cyrus, exploits herself and sends out negative messages about women, through to the state of the industry itself.  She has even advertised for a lover on Twitter.  Sinead has a voice and damn it, you are going to hear her, whether you like it or not.

Well this time, Sinead is letting her music do the talking, in the form of her new album I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss.  The title itself is a mini expose on her character and how she sees herself, but does the album’s content follow through?

Well, the flow of the album is far removed from the insecurity of the video for her massive hit.  This is swapped for a confident and almost masculine collection of pop tracks, providing a string of great lyrics and soundbites about love.  The album contains a number of outside influences, but Sinead herself admits that its content is swayed by Chicago Blues and counts Buddy Guy among the influences.

Whilst the above paragraph feels a bit like a contradiction, love, masculine, pop etc, it simply isn’t.  Sinead balances this beautifully.  On the album she openly talks about how she yearns for somebody special to partner with, experience a connection like no other, create an almost spiritual bond.  Yet on the other hand, she also openly views the physical side as important an inspirational.  This seemingly awkward contradiction could also be seen on the album cover, where Sinead O’Connor looks every bit the airbrushed pop star, with long flowing hair, skinny tight jacket and flawless skin.  As a youngster, you may not realise you are getting a fiery, shaven headed, irish minx.

The opening track from I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss, explores this physical side, setting the tone from the outset. “I wanna make love like a real, full woman, every day”.  Now this opener How About I Be Me (And You Be You) could be confused for her latest Twitter ad or a tilt at Tinder, but this is where the contradiction comes in.

On tracks such as Dense Water Deeper Down and Your Green Jacket explore the much more sensitive side and goes under the skin of the emotion, intrigue and poignancy centred around love.  I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss has such a personal connection from Sinead O’Connor in its make-up it has an almost diary feel to it.

However, Sinead herself admits to creating some characters to help make up the album and to not think the content is purely autobiographical.  Perhaps, therein lies the beauty of the concept.  A deeply emotional and telling view of love and feelings, to a largely spiritual and deep level.  Mixed with honest views on the more gritty nature of the conundrum, with lyrics about sex and partying.  All in all, you could just say, that in one album, Sinead O’Connor has captured all there is to talk about in relationships.

Regardless of its meaning or ability to provide a social commentary.  I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss is a great collection of meaningful pop songs.  There are some tracks that you will listen to and relate to.  There are some that will just make you feel good.  One thing is for certain though.  Sinead O’Connor has created one hell of a brilliant album.  You must go and listen.

LP1 by FKA Twigs (Review)

Review of LP1 by FKA Twigs

Gloucestershire is not always seen as a hotbed of new urban music.  It is more known as a bit of a sleepy foothold in the Cotswolds, with lovely country side and the beautiful spa town of Cheltenham.  Well, forget all that.  Because FKA Twigs is unleashing a verbal assault on your sensitive rural loving ear drums.

Review of LP1 FKA Twigs debut album

Review of LP1 FKA Twigs debut album

OK, perhaps that was a little over the top.  FKA Twigs aka Tahliah Barnett is bringing the West Country scene to the forefront.  Not content with being outshone by big city neighbour acts from Bristol, the former dancer has created a quality album.

Apparently Twigs, who was a backing dancer for the likes of Jessie J and Kylie, was nicknamed Twigs due to the clicking sound of her limbs as a child.  Hopefully that as now ceased and she can move a bit more freely.

So when you mention FKA Twigs as a backing dancer for the likes of Kylie and Jessie J, you wonder, will she be in the same pop vein?  Well to a degree her album is pop, but not really the uber mainstream pop of the aforementioned artists.  Her album contains exciting, catchy and sometimes unique sounds.

She has a great voice.  One which challenges you as a listener.  If can be quite understated and fluffy, but also has a range and unique quality that makes a singer stand out.  Whilst I am not comparing FKA Twigs with Erykah Badu, she does have a similar quality in the sense that her voice doesn’t really fit her genre.  Yet like Miss Badu, it just works.

Her sound and album have been hitting all the right notes.  Anybody who is anybody is talking about FKA Twigs and she is even getting back by the likes on no less than Zane Lowe.  This is the regard she is being held in.  The album, LP1, has been hotly anticipated.  Whilst some critics have called the album title pretentious, I (and its a view probably shared by Twigs) couldn’t care less.

LP1 is a genuinely hard thought out vision.   From start to finish, FKA Twigs creates a piece of work you feel you want to listen to, from start to finish.  It creates a compelling story, like a great book, but can also be picked up in pieces and the enjoyment remains.  This whole body of music, kind of throws out the view forming in the industry that albums are dead.

The music itself does have a sexy edge, with some deeply sultry moments of RnB slapped on for the urban crowd.  Some great bass lines produced to great effect to compliment the stunning melody and ethereal sound of Twigs enchanting voice.

Two Weeks is FKA Twigs lead single, and uses this style to great effect.  Essentially Twigs sings about trying to break somebody from a sexless relationship and explains how things can be so much better.

Other great tracks include Video Girl (harping back to Twigs‘ days as a dancer) and Lights On (which I heard some time ago in a different guise, but contains proper beats).

This girl has got talent though.  FKA Twigs is not one of these artists that emerge following a massive clamour of support from the cool kids and when she has got big, vanishes in to thin air.  FKA Twigs has genuine longevity and LP1 is just the start of that journey.

I’m Not The Only One by Sam Smith (Review)

Review of I’m Not The Only One by Sam Smith

Sam Smith was one of the hottest tips for success in 2014.  He released his solo debut album to much critical acclaim, however, there were also some dissenters, not quite convinced by the album as a collection of music.  Music Eyz, were hardly overly positive in our review of the album In The Lonely Hour either.  One thing shone through though, and that was his talent.

Review of I'm Not The Only One by Sam Smith

Review of I’m Not The Only One by Sam Smith

I’m Not The Only One is Sam Smith‘s latest release.  Get past the cheesy intro to the video and the cuts then move to emotional scenes of the woman breaking down, whilst the husband decides to flaunt himself elsewhere.   Throughout the video tells a tortuous story and shows the effect cheating can have on a relationship.  Albeit with a bit of a weird ending.

The track itself has a bit of a retro sound to it, with stripped back music, finger clicking and some amazing vocals.  Sam Smith delivers the perfect story to accompany the roller coaster video images.  He sings with a real passion and demonstrates his soul throughout the track.

I’m Not The Only One is a great collision between modern pop music and soulful sounds of yesteryear.  Sam Smith delivers his lyrics in a beautiful and believable way.  You get the sense that he may have been through something of a similar ilk.

Great track, good video and deserving of a hit.

 

Purple Skies by De’Vide (Review)

Review of Purple Skies by De’Vide

De’vide is a band from Ipswich which consists of band members Lex Flowers and Barny Holmes. I’ve known Lex for quite a number of years now and he is an incredibly talented MC, songwriter and DJ. Added into the mix Barny a successful singer/songwriter this duo is set to be unstoppable.

De'Vide release debut single Purple Skies

De’Vide release debut single Purple Skies

You might recognise them from The Voice UK – season 2 where they made it into Jessie J‘s team and were watched by millions. From there, they want on to perform in London’s Jazz Cafe and the launch of London Fashion Week. As well as supporting many well known artists doing summer festivals along side Naughty Boy, Amelia Lily and Wiley. After a lot of radio play and support from BBC 1xtra, Capital Xtra and more they are now enjoying world tours and being managed by Mega Man one of the founding members of The So Solid Crew.
Then what dropped into my mailbox? A quick email from Lex with news of their latest promo video for a track entitled ‘Purple Skies‘. The song starts calm and mellow, with a soft beat and the soulful sound from singer Barny. Theres not too much going on which is great as it makes it sound raw and fresh and takes you into a relaxing, peaceful state of mind. It definitely makes for a great listen. Then the song takes a spin and with the lyrical MC Lex mixing his unique sound and flow into it – it all falls into place.
There’s no denying these guys have talent, I mean, doesn’t making it to Jessie J‘s team in the Voice UK say it all? If she can see their raw unique talent, then you’d be mental not to see it as well.
Make sure to check their social media and youtube channel for other videos and covers they have done so far. They’ll become one of your favourites like they are mine.
Review by Natalie Combey-Yildiz

Don’t You Find by Jamie T (Review)

Review of Don’t You Find by Jamie T

Jamie Treays, better known as Jamie T was once lauded as the biggest prospect in UK music.  It even got to the stage where the Wimbledon born performer was nicknamed the one man Arctic Monkeys.  Well it has been some time since we last heard anything to speak of from the man himself, in fact the best part of half a decade.  It seems an age since Zane Lowe named Back in the Game his “Hottest Record in the World”.

Review of Jamie T Dont You Find

Review of Jamie T Dont You Find

So, Don’t You Find represents Jamie T‘s comeback.  Is it any good or should he have stayed in hs hiatus?

Well the video underpins exactly what the boy is about, performing in an average house on a guitar.  No need for any thrills, good honest gritty music, with a bit of a grubby edge.  The almost mono verses at the start of the track are broken by some mesmerising female vocal/noises, which then links to a bit more of a pitch from Jamie T.

The female vocal adds a real edge to the track.  The lyrics are quite meaningful when you take a real listen.  He is essentially recounting those instances when you continually think about or even obsess about that person, you really shouldn’t.  The composition of the music is first class, strong gritty beats and great sounds of strings and a guitar.  The way the female vocals loops in, adds an eerie nature to the track and the way Jamie T, extends his style throughout to a kind of crescendo is superb.

I absolutely love Don’t You Find and if this represents the quality of Jamie T, then welcome back sir.  Its a pleasure to have you at the table of modern music once more.

Old Kent Road by Lucky Elephant (Review)

Review of Old Kent Road by Lucky Elephant

 
London collective Lucky Elephant are to release their new album The Rainy Kingdom through Sunday Best on September 8Produced by Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, Devendra Banhart, The Bees), the album features the track “Old Kent Road” which, along with the already aired “British Working Man“, is available as instant grat upon pre-order of the album: http://smarturl.it/TheRainyKingdom
 
The album’s first single “British Working Man” was nearly the title track, “…but we didn’t want to spend a year explaining to people that it’s not a BNP record.” Both this song and “Old Kent Road” are accompanied by stop-motion animation videos set in a recognisably modern London (the DLR and the London Eye are both visible, as is an Apple laptop), depicting the life and repetitive routine of an office drone. The visual style will evoke nostalgic associations with – depending upon your generation – Trumpton/Chigley/Camberwick Green, Postman Pat or Bob The Builder, all set in an ordered society where everything turns out alright. In Lucky Elephant‘s world, however, there’s always the unsettling suggestion that things won’t turn out so well: the sight of a passenger plane passing overhead is accompanied by the sound of a WW2 bomber.
Lucky Elephant

Lucky Elephant

 

A slow burning yet hypnotic piece that drags you in to its melody and then wont let go. The fusion of sound and video come together well to tell a simple tale of a street that everyone knows.

Lucky Elephant’s Deptford-born and bred keyboardist Sam Johnson knows the neighbourhood in the film intimately. His band-mates, however, bring more of a distance: fellow gadget-twiddler Paul Burnley is from Bradford, and the line-up is completed by North Londoner Laurence Clack on drums, and vocalist Emmanuel ‘Manu’ Labescat, from the south-west of France. Together, on this album, they pursue the relatively-uncharted “band as social historian” role also explored, in recent years, by Public Service Broadcasting, British Sea Power and Eccentronic Research Council.

 
Johnson discovered Ken Ashton‘s We Was All One documentary more-or-less by accident. “It was probably a bored internet moment, clicking around, you go down these weird alleys. And immediately, I said ‘This is amazing’. We all became slightly obsessed with it. When you’re writing you need a spark, and usually it’s heartbreak or lost love, but we used this. It was a microcosm of so much that is going on.  Not just in South East London or London or England even, but the whole of Europe.”
If you want to see Lucky Elephant, in action a good opportunity is coming up at the end of this month Thu 31st Jul – Sun 3rd Aug at Camp Bestival. 
Review by Doug Duffin