Songs, songs and more songs #83: Rose Gray, Jake Shears, Maisie Peters, Loïc Nottet and Anne-Marie + Eurovision 2023 update!

(Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash)

Life is HARD.

For all the ups, and they are sweet, there are plenty of downs and struggling can be everything.

It helps then to have singers like the five featured here to not only help you make sense of it all, but to set their thoughts and ruminations to absolutely infectious music, a mix of light and dark that gives you a chance to let your heart go through the worst but to do it to a soundtrack that makes it all a bit easier.

Should therapy be set to music? Some mental health experts would likely disagree but there is something good for the soul in dancing and REALLY feeling and exhibit A is right here in these five wonderful songs.

“Ecstasy” by Rose Gray

(courtesy official Rose Gray Facebook page)

There’s a sense of glorious effervescent joy in “Ecstasy” by UK singer Rose Gray which she says matches what she thinks might happen if a legend of the British pop scene went 21st-century dance.

I have written quite a few tunes with ecstasy as the chorus. And this one sort of made the carts. I wrote with a frequent collaborator called Alex Metric, who I absolutely adore. Sick. And we kind of like when we were writing it. We were like this kind of feels like if Kate Bush or a dance record. I think this might be what it was. And my EP is out tonight as well and it’s the lead the lead track on the EP. (courtesy pm studio)

Written, as she says, with frequent collaborator British DJ Alex Metric, “Ecstasy” is a buoyantly upbeat track that celebrates letting go with someone special, the title of which was chosen “because of how incredible the vibes where when I started playing it live.”

It would indeed be a thrill to see this slice of vivacious pop live; you can imagine the crowd bouncing and singing along, escaping to a buoyant place that only truly transportive pop can take you.

“Too Much Music” by Jake Shears

(courtesy official Jake Shears Facebook page)

No, no, no the onetime lead singer of Scissor Sisters is not suggesting he’s sick of music and overwhelmed by its sheer presence with new song, “Too Much Music”.

In fact, he’s close to releasing an all-new album, Last Man Dancing, which comes out 23 June, indicating that his long, deliciously queer love affair with music is alive and truly well.

So alive and well it seems that, according to an article on Australia’s Double J, he’s described the album as the “ultimate house party” full of “Electro-pop, tech-house, poppers-fueled disco” which means “We can be as loud and late as we want.”

That sounds awesome and as subsequent single “”Do the Television” makes infectiously clear, he’s right to keep the beats and fun flowing as long as we’re prepared to listen.

Yes, YES we are … get your dancing shoes on people!

“Body Better” by Maisie Peters

(courtesy official Maisie Peters Facebook page)

Having just been in Australia on a tour, conveniently during World Pride 2023 in Sydney, English singer-songwriter Maisie Peters is making her presence felt with “Body Better”, a very intimate look at what goods through the mind of someone when dealing with a break-up.

‘”Body Better” is one of the most honest songs I’ve ever released, and definitely the most personal,’ she shared in a statement. ‘I wrote it after a breakup and it deals with the ugly things you think to yourself in the aftermath, when you’re painstakingly going through everything small thing you did and were and wondering what you could have changed. It’s a song about insecurity and vulnerability, about giving a lot of yourself away to someone who decides they don’t want it anymore, and knowing where to go from there. (UPROXX)

“Body Better”, which is effectively one of the lead singles for an upcoming sophomore album – her first album, You Signed Up For This, was released in 2021 via Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records label, goes deep into the mental wrangling that takes place when you’re trying to figure out a person you loved would summarily dispense with you as a love interest.

It’s articulate about the pain and the grappling with the romantic unknowable, and it’s set to music whose upbeat feel reflected how much hyper energy goes into this emotional merry-go-round of coming to terms, or at least trying to, the loss of something, and someone once so valuable to you.

“Danser” by Loïc Nottet

(courtesy official Loïc Nottet Fa ebook page)

A Eurovision alum – the singer-songwriter-dancer represented Belgium at the 2015 contest with “Rhythm Inside” – Loïc Nottet serves up an impossibly piece of danceable pop with “Danser”.

When writing about him in the Road to Eurovision series for 2015, this reviewer remarked, and it very much still holds with this instantly appealing track, that Nottet has “the sort of impressive voice that can handle pretty much anything you could ask him to sing.”

A runner-up in The Voice Belgique TV singing contest in 2014, Nottet is also a talented composer with a keen interest in stage presentation, evidenced by the fact that the clip for “Danser” is based on an idea by him.

Instrumental in every facet of his career, Nottet shows with his latest single that he has lost none of his musical or visual energy, gifting us a slice of pop that embeds itself in your ears and which won’t be shaken free in a hurry (not that you’d want it to be).

“SAD B!TCH” by Anne-Marie

(courtesy official Anna-Marie Facebook page)

We all have to mourn sometimes; life is rough and often takes no prisoners and being sad and licking your wounds is both understandable and necessary.

But then there comes a time when you’ve had enough, sadness has had its moment in the emotional sun (or under the dark cloud, really) and you have to get out and about, somethint English singer Anne-Marie gives danceably fun voice to in “SAD B!TCH”.

It enscapsulates the need to stop wallowing in misery at some point and exuberantly sets forth all the garrulously enjoyable things that will take the place of rumination and pain.

As you’d expect, it’s a lot of fun with the singer triumphantly and defiantly exclaiming “I just wanna be with my friends, and f–ked up very rich, I just want to make one thing clear, baby it’s so last year, being a sad b!tch.'”

Count me in – where do I sign up?!


Excitingly we now have 37 artists and songs to go with the 37 countries who has nominated to participate in this year’s contest and there’s a wealth of great songs to sample at the moment!


They will all be examined in a happily critical way when the annual Road to Eurovision series kicks off on Saturday 25 March on this very blog, but for now, here are five tracks I am especially loving …

And to catch on all the news that’s fit to “print”, check out the official February Eurovision news round-up.

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