When Hozier released his most recent studio album (‘Wasteland baby!’) last year, I instantly became obsessed with every single track on there. One song that stands out to me in particular is ‘Movement’, and as the title suggests, the song is truly dynamic. With its wavering volume and tone that hovers between mellow and intense, coupled with vivid lyrics snuggled in metaphors of nature, ‘Movement’ is comparable to a gentle breeze caught in a thunderstorm of passion. Its strong, yet sensual, melodies make for a delightful listen, which is why I believe everyone should listen to it.
I found it really hard to pick one song for this and after changing my mind a few times, I finally decided on a song by Irish singer-songwriter and guitarist Orla Gartland. I was listening to her a lot in the final few months before leaving Newcastle and I've got a lot of love for her music.
Described as 'a quirky, addictive banger', her catchy 2018 single, 'I Go Crazy' perfectly depicts the wild intrinsic rollercoaster surrounding life and love that all of us inevitably experience. For a fusion of funky beats and relatable lyrics, she's the ideal listen.
Adwaith are probably my favourite new band of the last few years. They’re a folky, post-punk, Welsh language band from Carmarthen and won last year’s Welsh Music Prize. ‘Fel I Fod’, from their 2018 debut album Melyn, is probably my favourite song of their’s and is one of their more melodic, atmospheric songs. With help from a thriving Welsh language music scene they were quickly growing in popularity pre-lockdown, playing sold out gigs around the UK and planning to release an album this year. Obviously the current situation has meant they’ve had to put that on hold, but with all the songs written and ready to record it’s worth keeping an eye out for the new album whenever they manage to get it released.
There isn't much known about Coco. Self-described as 'an entity that describes our personas', the project is made up of unknown musicians who wanted to avoid all the toil of the music industry and create music out of passion and not out of necessity.
Their debut and currently only single, 'Empty Beach' is stunning. It's a blissful soundscape that echoes the warmth of past summers whilst offering an extraordinary companionship. Emitting a soothing peace 'Empty Beach' is a safe-haven of sound. A friend to accompany you through times both light and dark. It's the definition of simple, yet effective. I implore you all to listen to it and lose yourself in the elation of 'Empty Beach'
Today's song criteria is a bit of a freebie. A song I think anyone should listen to could easily just be a song from a band I really like that I think people should get in to or just a song I really like and want people to listen to, but I think it'd be more useful to make people listen to a song with a political message I want more people to consider, So I'm picking this very '80s sounding anthem from Bruce Cockburn. The song was inspired by his work in Guatemalan refugee camps, and after witnessing the brutality of Efraín Ríos Montt's fascist, US-backed, Guatemalan regime, Cockburn channeled his rage at the perpetrators of the horrors he witnessed into this song, producing one of my favorite anti-fascist ballads. The song has some of the most powerful musical imagery I've ever heard, and I hope that after listening to this song people begin to look into the countless torturous fascist dictatorships backed by the USA in Latin-America as a result of its Reaganist, war-hawk, anti-communist foreign policy, and feel stirred by Bruce's cry. 'If I had a rocket launcher, (I would retaliate)' is a staunch reminder that fascism can only be fought with the stick.
Waterloo Sunset is one of the most beautiful and sad love songs ever written. The lyrics outline two lovers, Terry and Julie, meeting together at Waterloo Station every Friday night and blissfully going off together into the night. Yet, the story is told by an outside observer, who is either watching them or simply imagining them, and the song balances his envy and sadness towards this couple, with the couple’s apparent happiness together. Ray Davies steals the song as lead singer and with his contributions on the acoustic guitar. It’s a beautifully composed song that captures the joys and envies of love and should be listened to by everyone.
‘Fortunate Son’ is a song that, in my opinion, everyone should listen to. John Fogerty’s emotionally charged lyrics served as a stinging critique of the Vietnam War, addressing the class issues associated with the conflict and soon becoming an anthem of the anti-war movement. What makes this song so significant in my eyes, however, is not only it’s political relevance in the early 1970s, but it’s continued resonance. Fogerty denounces blind nationalism and the millionaire politicians who view the working class as expendable, both of which seem to be increasingly prevalent in Britain today. A track that was revolutionary at its time and remains pertinent today, ‘Fortunate Son’ is a song that should most definitely be listened to.
Apologies to everyone who regularly writes for this section, but you've been made redundant. Music is over, and we must all instead move onto its sequel, Music 2, better known as 'Thos Moser'. I refuse to explain nor describe this song, just listen to it; You'll understand.
It is more than ok to hate Morrissey. The Smiths and in particular this song; however, everyone needs to listen to it. The song has been covered countless times, and used in books, films, other song titles and even inspired the title of a segment of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. The sorrowful and mellow tune all about a desparation to stay with a partner. It is probably best known for the iconic line "To die by your side, Is such a heavenly way to die". A legendary song that must grace the ears of every person eventually.
The Academic are an exciting band which have worked their way up the Indie scene over the last few years. I’ve always had a soft spot for them, after getting to interview them and review their show for The Courier in my first proper article. A song of theirs which I think people should listen to would be ‘Bear Claws’. It’s probably their most popular song, with a somewhat conventional narrative of unrequited love, but I think that the feel-good attitude which Fitzgerald brings is really uplifting. It’s arranged beautifully, and when the band told me that the album which the song accompanies, Tales From The Backseat, was more lyrically motivated, this song is proof of that statement.
Perfection is a loaded term when it comes to art and especially music. The nature of music as an art form is that it is subjective. Sonic beauty is in the ear of the listener. Describing any one piece of music as 'perfection' then is difficult. However, Portishead's stunning debut album Dummy comes pretty close. The Bristolian band's first record is so good that choosing an individual song from it to highlight is hard. Portishead were the masters of a movement known as Trip-Hop which emerged from the electronic and hip-hop scenes in Bristol in the early 90's, combining elements of house, techno and hip-hop and stirring in some ambient production for good measure. They infused this instrumental electronica with string arrangements and heavily distorted guitar, creating one of the most unique sounds in musical history. Despite all this Portishead are often forgotten amongst other British bands from the 90's. Much of this can be attributed to Trip-Hop's relatively small cultural impact, which was short lived and very South-West centric. Nonetheless, Portishead's distinct sound is arguably best shown on 'Roads'. On this track the band are flexing all their muscles. the deep synths and floating strings compliment each other beautifully, while the slowed-down house drums give the instrumentals that special Dummy sound. Still, Portishead would be nowhere without the operatic falsetto of Beth Gibbons' whose angelic voice provides the melancholic finish to an already dark sound. Portishead then, are a band who subvert the subjective notion of perfection. Presenting a sound which is so delectably unique that all you can do is sit back, listen and enjoy.