Honesty. Truthfulness. Authenticity.
They’re all powerful words and they describe powerful states of being where all the artifice and pointless detritus of the world falls away and you are just yourself.
Unapologetically, gloriously yourself.
All five of the artists in this selection know exactly what that feels like and their songs reflect not just a distinctiveness of sound but of attitude and self too and it is beautiful to listen to …
“Bruise Boy” by Jean Dawson
You know how some songs sound appealing but almost instantly glance off you leaving no permanent mask on your aural memory while others go deep immediately and stay in high lasting rotation for the duration.
“BRUISE BOY” by rapper and singer Jean Dawson is just such a song that hits you with its distinctive blend of “pop melodies and hip-hop production” (The Fader) right off the bouncingly listenable bat and just gets richer with every listen.
The song, lifted from Dawson’s October 2020 album “Pixel Bath”, reflects the artist’s melding of sounds, which his biography on AllMusic calls a “lyrical and hypnotic genre-mashing blend of hip-hop, trap, and experimental indie rock.”
It indeed compelling to listen to with the video accompanying the song bringing it alive as a reflection of his dreams, a perfect melding of unique sound and vision.
“Care” by beabadoobee
A Filipino-born British singer-songwriter, whom the UK tax department knows as Beatrice Laus, beabadoobee has crafted an instantly memorable and inordinately catchy song which NME beautifully describe this way:
“Opening with a muted guitar lead and quickly building outward, the soaring track is enlivened by its jittery bassline and tight, hook-filled lyrics. Telling the story of a troublesome relationship, ‘Care’ intermittently reveals its spiky underbelly as Bea sings with indignation.”
First bursting to worldwide fame via a sampling of her song “Coffee” by Canadian emo rapped Powfu, beabadoobee is one of those artists whose blend of infectiously upbeat melody, incisive, emotionally authentic lyrics and an emotive voice that lives every words she sings, can only lead to bigger and better things as NME observes.
“‘Care’ deserves a bright and long future as a staple for the arena-swelling crowds that will inevitably continue to greet her, post-pandemic. It is thrilling to envision the heights Bea is destined to reach.”
“Louder” (feat. Icona Pop) by Big Freedia
Oh, how I love a song with exquisitely well-crafted and flawlessly delivered attitude.
Big Freedia, a bounce artist – “bounce” is a style of hip hop unique to her hometown – who hails from the vibrant city of New Orleans, is someone who executes on investing her songs with the kind of attitude that stands up for truth, integrity and being true to yourself.
It’s heady stuff, and in “Louder”, a collaboration with Swedish duo Icona Pop, it’s on full glorious display, delivering up a song that catches and then holds your attention with nary a desire to turn away, and it’s all courtesy of an unexpected joining together of musical talent as Big Freedia notes.
“I met Icona Pop by chance because we were both recording at the same studio. I was a fan so when I heard they were in the next room, I went to say hi. Next thing I knew, they were on two songs. They killed it!” (Rolling Stone)
“Stopped Buying Diamonds” by YDE
You have to love an artist who happily tells it like it is.
In “Stopped Buying Diamonds”, the debut single by Los Angelino YDE (full name Breanna Nicole Yde, pron. “ee-dee”), a host of unthinking fossilised critics and their outdated ways of thinking get taken out by an artist who found fame on TV and looks set to find even more as a trailblazing singer.
In short order, this insanely catchy rock number takes down materialism, racism and a host of other societal ills, urging people to rethink what it is they believe because it’s not healthy or right.
It’s powerfully engaging stuff which The Music Mermaid describes this way.
“YDE’s powerhouse pipes lead a quivering, quaking delivery over a brash arrangement of wooden percussive smacks, chugging guitar riffs, distant synth dazzles, and a whole lot more. ‘Stopped Buying Diamonds’ is a dynamite debut in which YDE bypasses a demand for an apology and settles instead into her role as the next generation of trailblazers and changemakers.”
“Buzzkill’ by Baby Queen
South Africa-born, London-based music artist Baby Queen aka Bella Latham has a pithily satirical way with words and it makes her song “Buzzkill” a riotously insightful to listen to.
It’s about being depressed and yet at a party and, according to the artist when she interviewed by NME in their Breakout series, came out of a real life situation where her emotional state didn’t gel at all with where she was at the time:
“It was actually a stage in my life, but I wrote the song after this mad night out in east London. It was meant to be great vibes and I started crying. My friends were like: ‘You’re so young, chill out. Life’s so good!’ It was almost like [they were] asking me out of my anxiety spell. I have a guilt complex with partying and I was going through a break-up then, too. I went home and was like [sings the melody that leads to the chorus]: ‘I don’t wanna be a buzzkill’. The chorus came that night, but the song was actually written over a few months.”
The song is raw and honest, a trademark of an artist who’s destined for some very great things, an incredibly listenable song that tells it like it is, as nourishing for the soul as it is for the part that needs a and craves brilliantly good music.
EUROVISION 2021 UPDATE!
With only 4 months to go, things are, as you might expect, heating up in Eurovision Land, the most pyrotechnic saturated land of them all!
First up, while 23 countries (at best count) have brought back their 2020 contestants (who never performed if you recall due to COVID cancelling the event) with all new songs (you can’t use the same song two years running, cancellation or no cancellation), the balance of the 41 countries competing are getting ready for or holding national selections to find this year’s representative.
One of the key parts of any event, especially Eurovision, is the look and feel of the event and so, Eurovision 2021 has gone for broke with a slick, heartwarming promo that celebrates “we” and the power of music … Let’s Open Up”, again …
It’s exciting to have things ramping up and we will of course be featuring as much of the Eurovision lead up as time permits … in the meantime, play your favourite Eurovision tracks, cosplay your favourite artists and make your stock of glitter is replenished!
And while you do all that, have a listen to France’s representative this year, Barbara Pravi with the goosebump-inducing, resplendently emotive “Voilà” … this is going to be a standout performance … you can just feel it …