Songs, songs and more songs #74: Franc Moody, Magdalena Bay, Dora Jar, Zella Day, Michael Kiwanuka +new ABBA lyric video “Fernando”

(via Shutterstock)

We race here! We race there! We tell ourselves we are giving life its introspective due but are we really when we rarely stop to even breathe?

Truth is, we often don’t out the brakes on long enough to ruminate about life, but thankfully a number of very talented and insightful music artists do, with every last one of the five featured in this post packing of existential musing into some meaningful slow tracks.

They will instantly grab your attention because they are musically gorgeous but take a second to think upon what’s written there too because, combined with the music, they offer tracks that slow you down, make you listen and think and do what your day-to-day routine often can’t – engage with life and see what it’s all about.

It’s a beautiful idea and it’s find perfect realisation in these five gloriously good songs …

“Into the Ether” by Franc Moody

(courtesy Soundcloud (c) Franc Moody)

Hailing from London, Franc Moody have the perfect combination of irrestible melodies, languorously emotive vocals and a dance sensibility that when to rev up the amps and when to dial to a seductively nuance pace such as we are blessed with on their track, “Into the Ether”.

The title song from their recently released album of the same name – it is the follow up to 2020’s Dream in Colour – which was described rather winningly by Mystic Sons as an LP “of low key vibrancy and buoyancy, “Into the Ether is a thing of calming beauty, all slow intent and relaxed delivery which finds form in a song that doesn’t so much as race to the finish of its 2:53 run time but stroll with thoughtfulness and an eye on music that soothes the soul.

It’s a standout on the album, a headily chilled combination of warm humanity and music that knows how to make a real emotional connection with you.

As we head into summer here in Australia, it’s the perfect track for late night musings around the BBQ, wine in hand and thoughts of life lazily wafting through your mind, all of them soundtracked to a track that captures season, emotion and humanity in one beguilingly lovely package.

“All You Do” by Magdalena Bay

(courtesy official Magdalena Bay Facebook account)

There is a superlative quality to Florida-based synth pop and electronic duo Magdalena Bay’s music which makes every track feel like a gem unto itself.

Case in sparklingly listenable point is “All You Do” which kicks off with soft driven guita beats anchored by the ethereally buoyant vocals of Mica Tenenbaum before soaring softly and yet with enormously catchy power into a layered thing of harmonic beauty.

There is a poetic, almost magical quality to the lyrics – “What if all these people / Were trees growing up through the clouds?” – which speaks of being home with someone special whose every action is “good”.

It’s an intoxicatingly attractive word picture, matched by lusciously immersive music and vocals so vibrantly emotional and content that you fall into the song, a perfect moment in time that makes life feel as beautiful as you hope it can be.

“Bump” by Dora Jar

(courtesy official Dora Jar Facebook page)

Do you ever hear a song that is so immediately likeable, a perfec coming together of melody, words, vocals and seamless production that you wonder how something so wonderful could exist in this often blighted world of ours?

Such a song, and honestly it had this reviewer’s heart and ears within seconds of sliding into seductively chilled sound, is “Bump” by Dora Jar, described as a “bedroom pop musician” who hails from Northern California.

There is a playfulness to her voice but it is also redolent of real emotional and impact, the type of vocal delivery that make songs by artists like Kate Bush and Helicopter Girl so repeatably listenable; while she is not in the least derivative of anyone else, she is very much in the hallowed line of artists who can pack real punch into their ethererally laid back tracks.

One of those happy discoveries on YouTube when it suggests videos you might like, “Bump” is exquisite, a deliciously syrupy song of real beauty, both lyrical and musical, that fills your soul with everything good and perfect and the way an accidental bumping can lead to somewhere otherworldly and yet grounded in the kind of hopeful humanity we all cling to in life.

“Mushroom Punch” by Zella Day

(courtesy official Zella Day Facebook page)

Quite apart from its inventively fun title which sound whismsically quirky and intriguing in equal measure, “Mushroom Punch” by American singer, songwriter, and musician Zella Day more than lives up to the imaginatively emotive of less than pedestrian name.

Kicking of slowly and with a sense of introspective purpose, “Mushroom Punch” is a beguiling track that sounds has a playfully fun musical quality to it while serving up lyrics that talk of dying love and betrayal.

This lyrical and musical tension makes for a gloriously inviting song that ruefully muses on the fact that while she has been making tea for her love and tending to someone that he has “someone else making love to you”.

It’s a cruel end to something obviously wonderful, and every inch of the regretful pain and loss is in a song that pours a lot of raw, dark humanity into music that reflects the Scandinavian ability to blend light and dark in one stunningly affecting track.

Taken from her new album, Sunday In Heaven, which comes out on October 14, 2022 “Mushroom Punch” is masterfully insightful, lyrically devastating and musically rich, one of those tracks you will remember long after its finished playing (assuming it’s allowed do that which is doubtful).

“Beautiful Life” by Michael Kiwanuka

(image courtesy official Michael Kiwanuka Facebook account)

One of the most compelling things about slower, more rumative tracks is how they wrap themselves around you, immerse you utterly and completely in thoughtfully-realised music and ideas and let you soak thems all up at an unhurried pace.

With a chill ’70s vibe to it, “Beautiful Life” by British-songwriter by Michael Kiwanuka is a dreamily perfect example of the craft of slowing things down, with the track serving as the title music for filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel’s documentary, Convergence: Courage in a Crisis which is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

Quiet it might be but it comes some powerfully beautiful ideas woven into its gorgeously languorous sound.

‘In this song I wanted to focus on the feeling that there’s a real strength in the human spirit when you try to look for beauty even in difficult situations,’ Kiwanuka said in a statement. ‘Of course, in some situations that becomes more and more difficult.

He continued, ‘But I just wanted to ponder on that and wonder what life would be like if I lived it like that. Ultimately whatever people feel from hearing the song is ok with me. But what I was trying to emit through the music was a feeling of defiance. A feeling of strength through adversity.’ (Rolling Stone)

While the song has been out in the world for almost a year, it is one of those eternally compelling songs rich in both lyrical truth and musical lusciousness, which makes an evergreen piece of music that will surley stand the test of time.


It’s been 30 years since ABBA Gold, containing a wealth of the Swedish group’s best known and loved tunes such as “Dancing Queen”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, and “The Winner Takes It All” hit store shelves on 21 September, 1992.

Thirty years! While that may leave you feeling just a little old, the good news there are a ton of anniversary merchandise options on the way in addition to a slew of promotional videos for each of the album’s tracks including the newest kid on the ABBA lyric video block, “Fernando” which famously sat atop the Aussie charts in 1976 for a record 14 weeks.

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