I have just recovered from COVID.
After being so careful about where I’d go and who I’d go there with, catching the disease was a massive downer, not least because it laid waste to my life, even with all those wonderful vaccinations – get vaxxed people! – but because suddenly all the things I loved doing, except for reading and streaming TV shows and movies, suddenly came to a feverish halt.
Thankfully, all that is now largely at an end, and it’s time to get back up and dance!
True, that won’t be on a dancefloor any time soon because I am back to fearing the outside world (for the next little while, anyway) but I can dance in my heart, on my work chair and in my living room, all great places to enjoy these five amazing songs from exceptional artists who appreciate that when you are down, the only way is UP, preferably with some great music soundtracking your ascension back to life in all its fizzy glory.
“Son of a Gun” by Jordan Stephens
Jordan Stephens is a talented man.
An actor (Glue, Rogue One), activist and one half of British hip hop band Rizzle Kicks (the name drawn from a nickname Stephens garnered at school) and solo singer, Stephens, who hails from Britain makes heartfelt, intelligent pop.
Case in point is “Son of a Gun” which reflects his lyrical focus on “topics such as mental health, sex, love, empowerment and queerness” (New Wave Mag) which takes a mid-tempo loping jaunty beat, combines it with R&B, Hip Hop and Alt-Pop all while lacing in some serious lyrical rumination on a very serious issue.
“This phenomenon of the cycles of trauma in young men is not just exclusive to fatherlessness, the sentiment applies to stressed mothers, difficult pregnancies and more. Young boys in particular, then enter into a society that doesn’t necessarily provide an opportunity for them to break out of that emotional cycle … The birth of a new society begins with the woman.” (New Wave Mag)
“Son of a Gun” has a rich, chilled listenability, an intensely persuasive lyricism that engages the heart and mind as the body falls into perfect sync with the beat that marks, once again, the pop of Stephens as something very special indeed.
“King” by Florence + The Machine
There’s new music coming from Florence + The Machine!
It’s been an approximately four-year wait since 2018’s High as Hope and to usher in the upcoming long-player Dance Fever, out 13 May, the British indie rock band (vocalist Florence Welch, keyboardist Isabella Summers, guitarist Rob Ackroyd, harpist Tom Monger, and a collaboration of other musicians / Wikipedia) have released soaring new track “King”.
It kicks on almost a meditative quiet before unleashing Welch’s impassioned, emotionally evocative trademark vocals which capture the heart and soul in seconds, with the focus firmly on what Bustle calls “a secret feminist meaning”.
“Proclaiming ‘I am no mother, I am no bride, I am King’, the track addresses the tough realities of being a woman in the music industry, referencing motherhood, marriage, and femininity. The track explores the sacrifices that all women – not just artists – make in their careers, attacking the tensions between becoming a mother and sustaining a career.” (Bustle)
It is, as you might expect from an artist of Welch’s emotional vulnerability and honesty, a deeply personal song with Florence + The Machine announcing via media release (via Bustle):
“As an artist, I never actually thought about my gender that much, I just got on with it. I was as good as the men and I just went out there and matched them every time. But now, thinking about being a woman in my 30s and the future, I suddenly feel this tearing of my identity and my desires.
“That to be a performer, but also to want a family might not be as simple for me as it is for my male counterparts. I had modelled myself almost exclusively on male performers, and for the first time I felt a wall come down between me and my idols as I have to make decisions they did not.”
“Can I Call You Tonight?” by Dayglow
What does Sloan Strubble, happily based in Texas, do when he has a yearn for some alternative indie pop musicmaking?
Why, he morphs into Dayglow, who has a memorably atmospheric song “Can I Call You Tonigh?” out for your listening pleasure, a sonic that pleasurably addictive, that Kid With a Vinyl was driven to say this about the gorgeously immersive track:
“‘Can I Call You Tonight?’, Dayglow’s second single, [sounds like] the work of a mature, seasoned professional, capturing the essence of what pure indie pop should be – echoed vocals, bright, textured synth, and a wonderfully bittersweet lyrical narrative somehow both wistful and hopeful all at once.”
The song draws on that agonisingly exciting moment when you want to call a close friend and tell them you want them to be far more than that, and it does so, “betwixt bouncy, saccharine sweet instrumentals” (Kid With a Vinyl), with an honesty that somehow fits beautifully into the loveliness of a song so musically joyously upbeat that somehow all that putting your heart on the line existentail angst feeling even more relatable.
Collaborations, particularly being equally talented people, aren’t always guaranteed of success because someone competing artistic priorities don’t always mesh as hoped; but oh, when they do, well, you get musical gems like “Good Luck” by Mabel, Jax Jones & Galantis.
Drawing on the vocal talent of British-Swedish singer and songwriter Mabel, English DJ, songwriter, record producer and remixer Jax Jones and Swedish electronic dance music production, songwriting and DJ duo Galantis (Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw), “Good Luck” is a romping mid-tempo dance banger that tackles that universal low point where you’ve experience romantic betrayal and you need uplifting and stat, and your friends come to your aid.
“‘Good Luck’ … is the empowering song you need when getting ready to go out: when you’re feeling low about someone, and your friends will take you out to get that person off your mind.” (Total Entertainment)
And if it sounds like you should dance your way through your emotional pain, then you are bang on the money.
“Inspiration for ‘Good Luck’ ran deeper for Mabel than the imagined dancefloor: she avidly watched and re-watched Paris Is Burning, Pose and Drag Race between writing songs, reflecting on how dance music became a generational hub for expression, liberation and inclusion.” (Total Entertainment)
“Melody” by SIGALA
Hailing from Norwich, Norfolk, Sigala is an English DJ and record producer who has a rather envy-inducing track record of sending his songs into the top ten of the UK singles chart.
There’s no doubt that “Memory” will make some sort of similar impact, with the song a bewitching catchy dancefloor-friendly piece of music that affirms the need to have that special someone “next to me” and that while “I hear a thousand songs … You’re the only melody.”
The lyrically romantic passion of the song matches the euphorically upbeat music to a tee, delivering a song that beautifully evokes the sense of abandon and escape but also the buoyant sense of possibility that you find on the dancefloor.
On Out Now, Sigala spoke to the sense of uplifting-ness that comes from new love and dancing being headily intertwined.
“‘Melody’ was written at my studio in London with a group of close friends, whom I have known for a long time. We set out to create an unforgettable melody and ended up using that concept as the basis of the song. It’s all about meeting somebody whom you can’t get out of your head! I wanted this song to have an ‘uplifting trance influence similar to ‘Wish You Well’, as that remains one of my all-time favourite records.”
EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2022 update!
Want to listen all 40 songs destined for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest but short of time? Fear not, we have you covered! Behold a handy recap of all 40 songs …
In addition to being able to listen to all 40 songs entered in this year’s contest, Eurovision’s pwoers-that-be have released the running order for the semi-finals.
To find out more, go to “Eurovision Song Contest 2022 Semi-Final running orders revealed!”