Songs, songs and more songs #87: Kylie Minogue, Netta, Hemlocke Springs, Dreamer Isioma + Grimes … and more Eurovision 2023 aftermath

(Photo by FPVmat A on Unsplash)

You want music that sounds like it will playing in your head for days, weeks, months, and quite possibly, years?

How about if it’s produced by artists with a distinctive look, sound and sense of musically artistically self?

Also good right? What about if they are also capable to delivering up performances that captivate the eye as much as the ear?

Perfection, right, and also all hallmarks of today’s artists who bring it home with a watchable listenability that makes you glad they have fallen into your orbit, never to depart …

“Padam Padam” by Kylie Minogue

(courtesy YouTube (c) Kylie Media)

This, everyone, is how you announce an album!

Especially if you’re Kylie Minogue and you have a storied glittery career behind you and are determined to make the future portion just as gorgeously, successfully hued; you announce a new album – that would be Tension due 22 September this very year – and then you pretty much immediately send an addictively listenable track out into the world, a song which is so infectiously repeatable that it gives many of your past musical glories a run for their money.

“Padam Padam”, which mimics in word form the sound your heart makes when you meet that someone special-for-now (and honestly knows where things will go beyond that?), is every bit the equal of songs like “Can’t Get You Out of the Head” but where that immortal track is all dance bombast and insistently fabulous beats, the newest kid of the Kylie block is all sultry, sensual beats with enough feet-moving forward momentum to make you hit “repeat” on the streaming platform of your choice.

And by “repeat” we mean repeatedly while watching the drenched in red video clip which match the mood and feel of the song to an absolute tee … it’s a masterclass all around in garnering the attention of fan, the media and those whose favourite colour is red (which by the way looks good even against a disparate range of urban settings).

“You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record) by Netta

(courtesy official Netta Barzilai Facebook page)

She not only dazzled us in 2018 at the Eurovision Song Contest with the social commentary-rich, deliciously upbeat “Toy” and won the hosting gig for her home country of Israel – the winner hosts as is the contest’s tradition – but five years later, Netta Barzilai, did it all over again when she performed a cover of “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” by English group Dead or Alive who made waves with this Eighties dancefloor filler back in December 1984.

The performance by Netta, with iridescently inflatable costuming to boot, was part of this year’s Eurovision nod to host city Liverpool’s – on behalf of actual winners Ukraine who, for sadly obvious reasons, could not host – rich musical history known as The Liverpool Songbook.

The segment featured a number of past winners and memorable contestants such as Duncan Lawrence, Mahmood and Iceland’s Daði Freyr and Toy nailed her appearance with some impressive vocalising, a performative brilliance that matched the ebullient mood and the tenor of the song and an innate ability, demonstrated on many release previously, to preserve the best of the original iteration while making it very much her own.

It was captivating stuff which is saying something in a grand final full of artists at the top of their game, but it points to the calibre of artist that Netta is and that she’s a long way from being done with musically and visually wowing us.

Thank goodness for that, huh?

“Sever the Blight” by Hemlocke Springs

(courtesy official Hemlocks Springs Instagram account)

Now to someone who’s relatively new to musical noticeability compared to the first two artists in this post but who we can guarantee will capture your attention and hold it fast for as long as she chooses to stick around (please let it be a good long while).

Hemlocke Springs aka Isimeme Naomi Udu is an American singer, songwriter, and record producer who has a way to move between a number of genres and sometimes within the same song.

“Sever the Blight” brings together a hauntingly atmospheric Kate Bush intro (courtesy partly of some ethereally beautifully “Wuthering Heights” vocalising), a driving ’80s-influenced dance-filled main body and a bridge which does its job with magnificent musical vibrancy.

It’s but one of a raft of releases since 2022 that point to an artist with something to say and some truly distinctively original ways to say it which incorporate past musical touchpoints without once being subsumed by them.

It’s pop with sparkly, personality, emotion and real depth and it will stay in your ear worm for days and you will regret not a nanosecond of it.

“Touch Your Soul (feat. Merlyn Wood)” by Dreamer Isioma

(courtesy official Dreamer Isioma Instagram account)

Described as a multiple-genre artist, American singer-songwriter Dreamer Isioma hails from Chicago where they come from a Nigerian-American family.

They said in an interview in the Chicago Tribune that music or athleticism were the two goals their parents had for them and clearly music won, happily for us, with the non binary artist who “mixes traditionally masculine and feminine components” releasing music with passion and a shimmeringly nuanced heart like “Touch Your Soul” (feat. Merlyn Wood).

It’s a gloriously laidback deep dive into a musicality with Pitchfork wonderfully noting that the song, and the album from which it’s drawn, Princess Forever, “fights the slow poison of the apocalypse with smooth R&B, galactic funk, and Afrofuturist fantasies.”

As descriptions, it’s a joy and then some, capturing the richness and emotionality of a song which feels like it wraps around and envelops you in a world made entirely of Dreamer Isioma’s vision and sound and that’s no bad thing in a world that could more of this kind of orthodoxy-busting reality.

“Player of Games” by Grimes

(courtesy official Grimes Facebook page)

Claire Elise Boucher knows her way around an arrestingly, ethereal track.

Better known as Grimes, the Canadian musician, singer-songwriter and record producer, has released pop for over a decade that defies easy categorisation and which delights with its melodic variability, its emotional intimacy and its sense of epic, grand theatre.

A perfect example of her craft is “Player of Games” which, apart from a literally fanatical clip, is all dance, ethereal melody and artistry which elevates from just another pop chart wannabe.

It’s proof that the artist is eminently capable of producing song after song that bear her electro, hip-hop and rock influences and which feel like a sumptuous excursion into the very best sounds of the moment which also managed to sound enticingly timeless.


Do you want to relive the magic of the top 10 of the Eurovision Song Contest one more time? Or lots more times? Of course you do and here are all the tracks in one handy compilation video …

Eurovision has also released a couple of Eurovision Journey videos for Finland’s Käärijä and his infectiously brilliant song, “Cha Cha Cha” …

And for Israel’s Noa Kirel and her magically mystical song “Unleashing the Unicorn” …

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