Another Tuesday and yes I hear you, Monday has taken it’s toll and you’ve arrived at one of those oddly pointless days of the week – not the beginning, not halfway through and not the blessed TGIF we all love.
So here are 5 wonderful songs I have collected on my travels around the net this week. Unlike bubblegum caught on your shoes, you will want these songs to stick around …
NELLY FURTADO – “The Spirit Indestructible”
The launch of her latest album, The Spirit Indestructible, may have been pushed back till September, but that doesn’t mean we have been denied another pop gem from this talented Canadian.
The new single is the title track, and its inspiring! Lyrically, melodically (where she embalms on all sorts of sonic experiments over the course of the four minute song with producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jenkins that come off beautifully), and visually – the lyrics video released shows her friend Spencer West climbing Mt Kilmanjaro on June 13 this year with just his hands.
The visuals, which capture Spencer’s indomitable spirit, and sense of fun too which is nice to see (since it’s all too easy to canonise inspiring people; I love that Nelly decided to show his goofier side too) match the tribal pulse and blips and blinds of the song. While it may have a lot of musical ideas packed into one small pop package, it all works and is the most interesting piece of music I have heard in a long time.
It helps too that Ms Furtado, who burst onto the scene over a decade ago with “I’m Like a Bird” has a voice as soulful as they come – sweet, pure, and dripping with heartfelt emotion. It lends this song the sort of poignant edge it needs to move beyond superlative new-ideas-in-pop playground to a truly goosebump-inducing song so beautiful and transfixing, it catches your breath …
… and then you will want to go out and conquer the world, with this song as your soundtrack.
PET SHOP BOYS – “Winner”
Pet Shops Boys have made a career out of crafting emotionally-rich synth-heavy songs that aren’t just a collection of vacuous electronic bleeps and whistles but which actually say something meaningful into the bargain.
Their new song is no different. Its dance in and out of the dark side of pop but also has its share of uplifting moments as well, which will no doubt ensure it’s used in many a video about people achieving the impossible and triumphing over the odds.
But much like Green Day‘s ironically titled “Best Day Of your Life”, which on the surface sounded exultant and celebratory but which was actually damning of what was really an awful day without parallel, “Winner” has dark edges which will likely go unnoticed. On the surface the lyrics speak of finally making it to the top podium of life, a moment that has been “a long time coming”. But you get the sense that they’re wondering if it’s all it’s cracked up to be now they’ve made it here.
It’s a classic Pet Shops Boys songs with the sort of happy yet sad melody we expect from them and lyrics that don’t simply take something at face value, and for that we should be exceedingly happy.
Now if someone can just speed up the earth’s rotation and get me to September earlier so I can get my hands on their full album, Elsyium.
SOFT PACK – “Saratoga”
This San Diego-birthed but Los Angeles-resident four piece indie rock outfit deliver the perfect driving song with “Saratoga”.
While driving to that town in Florida is not really an option for me since (a) I am in Australia and cars don’t float (unless you’re James Bond), and (b) I no longer have a car, amphibious or otherwise, it driving beats make me want to get in a convertible and go somewhere, anywhere!
Of course with a song this catchy, you could find yourselves exceeding the speed limit more than is good for you, so it may be a good idea to only play this melodic collection of swirling guitar riffs only once or twice on the trip.
Oh who am I kidding? You will be playing it nonstop, something that lead singer, Matt Lamkin with vocals so sublime and ethereal (yet powerfully present) would no doubt heartily approve of.
SAF – “Nailstorm”
Taking it down a peg, this Anglo-French brother and sister duo have crafted a song that gently ambles along albeit with a spirit spring, and some guitar swagger in its step.
Its soulful grooves, and lead singer Marianne Elise (who comprises the duo with sibling Eat Gas, which I suspect may not be his real name; then again they may have had adventurous parents!) are the perfect counterpoint to the driving power of Soft Rock’s “Saratoga”, but do not fear. You will not fall asleep at the wheel.
The song may start slow and below-the-radar but finishes with crunching riffs, and a grittier vocal delivery than will keep you awake till you reach your destination, likely humming its delightfully insistent melody. They embody sweet and fey, and blisteringly confident all in one diverse package.
Their newly released EP of the same name has an alluring mix of sounds but all of the songs confirm this is one band you must pay attention to.
Whether you’re driving or otherwise …
BLOC PARTY – “Octopus”
Bloc Party has returned!
After going on hiatus in October 2009, which is usually code for “we’re breaking up but not stupid enough to say that and upset our fans”, during which lead singer Kele Okereke put out a superb solo album, The Boxer in 2010, this innovative rock band from the UK have reunited, and released an awesomely good single to announce their triumphant return.
“Octopus” may sound all jangly guitars and jagged melodic edges, but the vocal back and forth between Kele and the band, and the insistent bouncy beat will have this screaming around your brain in five seconds flat. I will venture to predict that it will then refuse to leave for weeks, which frankly you won’t hate it for.
It’s the first single from their new album, Four (yep, guess how many albums they’ve released … go on … guess) which bows on August 20, and signals that Bloc Party are as creative and cutting edge as they have ever been, continuing their engaging mix of rock and electronic to devastatingly addictive effect.
So did any of these songs have you reaching for iTunes? What songs are rocking your world at the moment? I’d love to know!