In The Spotlight: Alicia Keys – Time Machine

The new single from American singer Alicia Keys. Time Machine hails as welcome return for Alicia and sounds altogether different from her material since the days of You Don’t Know My Name, Fallin and Empire State of Mind that hailed her as an R&B star. Though Girl on Fire did see a somewhat noticeable shift in her music. Her new single has a rhythmic back beat that goes on like bump, bump, bump, bump. In a way it’s almost like a pre-hook. As always Alicia’s voice just completely nails it and is smooth, soft and melodic but without overdoing it. Whenever she sings you know that she is going to hit the high note, and with minimal effort.

It’s during the chorus when she sings Go out of your mind (Out of your mind) that she really goes into her own and reminds you why she’s the amazing artist that she is. What I like about this song though imparticular is that it sounds like a change in musical direction, for example Underdog did signify some change but Time Machine takes it further. Almost as if she’s being just that little bit more daring each time till she ends up somewhere new.

The video that accompanies the song shows her at an arcade/roller-skating rink and shows Alicia hanging around with a group of people singing. Every few moments she looks straight into the camera and sing. It’s quite good, check it out.

https://www.youtube.com/watchtime_continue=224&v=NFCsuDcWqY0&feature=emb_loo

In The Spotlight: Aphrodite ft. Wildflower – ‘See Thru It’ (Sigsworth Remix 2002)

What can I say other than this is one drum and bass classic. See Thru It was produced by British Drum and Bass DJ/Producer Gavin King, better known by his stage-name, Aphrodite, and has making music for over 14 years. This version came out way back in 2002 with female vocalist Wildflower. Song wise the lyrics are sharp and quick-paced, and during the verses the do speed up and somewhat witty, also there’s something about them that gets you. Dare you to mime/sing to it at the pace. The back beat is fast-paced and totally energetic but one of the things that I like about it is that police car sirens are used in the background all the way throughout. Overall this was, and still is, a decent track to listen to and if you’re a fan of the drum and bass genre check it out

The video that accompanies the song shows Wildflower sitting in a car with a police car behind her. Just as a man from the police car begins to approach her, she races off and evades them. For the rest of the video it’s just clips of her driving past buildings (computer generated) and occasionally dancing. If anything, 16 seconds into the video it all becomes computerised. Still, it’s worth watching though  🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIq0cJfhkz8

In The Spotlight: The Lumineers – Hey Ho

Perhaps one of their most infamous songs around to date, Hey-Ho, is best described as a folk, indie/rock type of song. It is very much an easy listening sort of song and one that you can just as easily sing along to. In terms of the musical structure of the track it is melodic, upbeat and a rather chirpy one. The song is taken from their self-titled debut album back in 2012 and is one of those sorts of tracks where you can never really tire of it no matter how many times you listen to it. The song itself was written by founding members, Wesley Shultz and Jeremy Fraites. As songwriters they are incredibly talented, even with instruments. Since I first heard this track, I immediately liked it, and if you like indie/folk/rock music you’ll see why. An absolute classic to listen to.

The video that accompanies this song features is a fairly basic one and just features members of the band walking down a corridor just singing and dancing. Now what is also interesting is that the hospital itself looks like it has been unused and there is no lighting except for the light pouring through the windows and outdoor light decorations adoring the corridor. During the video they are accompanied by a young woman then by several extras who are dressed similarly to the band themselves. The video ends with the duo giving a small performance to room full of extras whilst clapping in beat with the rhythm.

🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvCBSSwgtg4

 

In The Spotlight: The Weeknd – The Hills

Literally just a few minutes long and from his second studio album, Beauty Behind The Madness and ironically also the second single by Canadian singer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye better known by his stage-name, The Weeknd, (minus a 3rd E). The Hills has quite a dark, intimate and sinister tone to it which seeps throughout the whole song, to me though, it has a somewhat apocalyptic feel to it. In some ways the darkness in the tone has a type of hook to it where you know that trouble or danger is literally just around the corner. Also, another thing I can’t help but notice is that there is also something quite seductive about the track. One of those where you after listening to the first few seconds you immediately want more. Now this a perfect example of The Weeknd’s talents as an artist as it shows what he is capable of when it comes to song writing.

One of the videos to this song begins with a car that’s been involved in an accident, The Weeknd crawls out of it and walks down a road. The car blows up behind him as he’s walking. He then enters a mansion, goes upstairs where he meets a small group of people where the video then blank. Both videos suit the mood and dark tones of the song as it does refer to deep subject matter in regards to both human behaviour and the human psyche especially as it deals with sex and drug abuse.

For your viewing pleasure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzTuBuRdAyA

 

In The Spotlight: Grimes & Hana – We Appreciate Power

This is an amazing song by Canadian singer and rapper, Grimes, and features vocals by American singer, Hana. Now what is quite intriguing about this duo is that both artists almost appear to sing at the same time, but either way it adds quite a bit of depth in regards to the song. The line, We Appreciate Power goes around like a catchy hook which you can quite easily sing to. I always found something quite dramatic about certain parts of the song in both the way that the music is arranged and combined with the lyrics. Overall this is good song for anyone who’s into electronic music and shows the best qualities of its two female singers. Why Hana and Grimes aren’t better known, or recognised, in the British music scene is beyond me.

I think there’s something just a bit eerie about the lyrics with some of its lines; Neanderthal to human being, Evolution, kill the gene, Biology is superficial, Intelligence is artificial, submit submit submit submit. In a way it’s almost like a sort of futurist referencing in regards to both evolution and A.I

The video to this is definitely worth a look at and has a sort of Tron/Manga look towards it. Neither Hana or Grimes are seen singing in it and the lyrics are seen in text in several languages. Throughout the video both singers are seen in various poses either holding props or holding each other. Also, there’s some CGI shots of earth in-between

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYG_4vJ4qNA 

 

In The Spotlight: Dave Stewart & Candy Dulfer – Lily Was Here

Recorded in 1989 and released back the following year in 1990, Lily Was Here is best described in some ways as a timeless masterpiece. It was made by Dave Stewart, one half of the electronic duo Eurythmics, along with Dutch Jazz saxophonist, Candy Dulfer. Now one of the things that is so iconic about it is that it doesn’t have any vocals on it at all, not even a backing vocalist or someone saying a couple of whispering words in the background. Just four minutes and thirty-odd seconds of uninterrupted music by a saxophone and guitar playing together. The song is both smooth, melodic and in some ways somewhat haunting.

The song is to the European/ Dutch film, Lily Was Here (De Kassiere). One of the videos accompanying the song is snippets of small clips of the film which mixed with clips of both Dave Stewart and Candy Dulfer playing the track along with the backing of a pull instrumental band. The film clips that are mixed in with it tell the story of a teenage girl who goes on the run after a traumatic event and then proceeds to go on a series of robberies.

Lily Was Here is one of those songs where, providing you are into jazz and instrumental songs with no vocals you cannot get tired of easily. It is in itself a timeless classic and truly fantastic work by two separate musicians from different musical genres, and one, no doubt where you won’t mind listening to on repeat.

Here’s two for your viewing pleasure, one contains footage of Dave and Candy performing together, have a watch and enjoy

https://vimeo.com/14212055

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNS3zwlHHlU