We are in a truly great period for pop music. This fall there are a number of massive sounding singles that are so uplifting, they just carry us right up above the political drama and polarization that has extended beyond America into almost every country. I seriously wonder what will happen, we have become so divided and so angry. The hope of January has been smothered in uneducated, blind rage. Civility is in rapid decline and it worries me because karma has a way of delivering a brutal smackdown in times such as these. So I close the door and go back to music, as I always do.
Beverly Knight Turned To Stone.
I tweeted the other day that this song reminds me a great deal of being in the UK in the 90's, when the "soul pop" was so great. This song is not dated so much as organic, with no shitty mod r'n'b speed singing or Flo Rida rapper feature. She allows her voice to be out front and the chorus really blows up into something anthem. The final minute of vamping is superb with all the ad libs. Seriously, as an American I don't even know who Knight is, but this is how they used to do it. on iTunes UK
Prefab Sprout Ride
My choice for standout track from the "lost" 1993 album, which is a fan's dream. You can see hear the label got nervous hearing this song at the time. It's about religion - "They will ride, ride home to Jesus heads held high..." - but it's more a love song to those who have faith than a love song to Christianity. "They don't walk in God's light/ They just walk the way they do / because it's right." The music is galloping and lush, and Paddy's voice is at it's very best. It literally shimmers. on iTunes UK - hear the song on the clip at the bottom of this post
A Fine Frenzy Stood Up
I've said it before, the Alison Sudol is like a the love child of Keane and 10000 Maniacs in their swoony Our Time In Eden era. This song is a standout on their excellent new CD, Bomb In A Birdcage, because of it's simple chorus and ballsy arena guitars. The end is literally chill inducing with the crowd chanting "we are not!" and Alison (briefly) wailing her ass off in a way I'd not expected. Amazing. on iTunes worldwide
Mayer Hawthorne A Strange Arrangement
The most honest way to describe this is seventies pop soul. I've seen references linking Mayer to Marvin Gaye, but this song is pure Todd "Hello It's Me" Rundgren. I don't love his other tunes so much, but here is a creamy mid-tempo that reminds me of AM radio when I was a very little child. Lush. on iTunes worldwide
Not released yet, but brilliant...
Sugababes About A Girl
After the shit-tastic Right Said Fred rip off get Sexy (sorry, that song is just pandering radio fodder!), Girls bring it back with a - shudders - RedOne collaboration. You know it's RedOne because they do the whole silly "Darkchild"esque shout out at the beginning and then it goes up up up. This tune is fucking massive - can you imagine it on a huge sound system? It's of the same family with Calvin Harris's Flashback - a huge club track that has a heart. I asked my friend to play it for her two-year-old daughter. It has everything Anjali will like, especially catchy chanting. The middle eight is brilliant and literally sweet: "Girls bring the fun of life, sugar like apple pie."
What do I not love? The new Robbie Williams single Bodies. It's trying too hard to be every Robbie song in one, but it's as good as none of them. And ChartRigger is right, the lyrics about Bodhi Tree and wanting to look good naked are absolute twaddle. I know some will disagree, especially since his return is considered to be so welcome in many quarters.
Prefab Sprout Ride: