Art or Insensitivity?

Pop is expected to be easy. You hear a song once and you know the story almost instantly. However, when it deviates from the norm and becomes complex, it’s difficult to delve past the surface.

My initial exposure to Anohni’s “Drone Bomb Me” was a viewing of the music video and after watching, I was confused. The video clearly wants to emphasize pain. Throughout the beginning scenes of the video when Noami Campbell is sitting in the chair her expression is one of manic glee – happiness for finally ending her pain. There is symbolism in who Naomi Campbell plays. Maybe I read too much into the video, but you clearly see her wearing a Rosary and thorny headpiece, which could to be a reference to Jesus. Campbell symbolizes a desire to end pain with the sacrifice of her life so that others will not have to? There is also the unmissable depiction of the cross when Campbell horizontally outstretches her arms. All in all, there is something unsettling about this video.

Listening for the first time, I thought the song was about tragic love and perhaps there is truth in that assumption, but my scope was too small. My initial thought was that the song had been inspired by Anohni’s struggle dealing with the reminder of lost love – relief could only be reached by death, and more specifically death by drone. It was a morbid conclusion, but the video was anything but optimistic, so I thought my superficial interpretation was correct. Operating under this pretense, the song did not sit well with me. How could Anohni (and all those involved)  be so insensitive? To wish for a drone bomb was disrespectful and inappropriate.

Turns out, Anohni isn’t insensitive. The song represents the bleak and desperate yearnings of a girl living in Afghanistan who has witnessed the death and destruction of her family members as the result of drone bombings. There is nothing else for this girl, but to wish for the very same fate as her family. The music video, although visually beautiful (Riccardo Tisci is the creative director), does not explicitly indicate the true source of inspiration, but now that I’m aware of Anohni’s political message, I can listen to the song and try to build a sliver of understanding and empathy.

The “Drone Bomb Me,” music video is below. I will take the week to listen to the rest of the album and organize my thoughts. Clearly, I’m late in reviewing this album, but I know it will be moving and I’d love for us to share whatever feelings surface while listening.

“Too Late Now”

I’ve been an odd mood over the past couple of weeks and today I heard something that lifted my spirits a bit, which for now is just enough to make my day. The song with revitalizing mood powers is Anik Khan’s “Too Late Now.”

I actually heard the song during Beats 1’s Live From NYC Show, and it instantly felt like a tune. I think what did me in was the saxophone – I’m a sucker for the saxophone. Saxophones are groovy, they produce a sound that’s easy to sway and become deeply in tune with. It’s like your body hears the saxophone and instantly knows how to move – it’s intuitive.

In terms of the vocals, the first verse is rich, deep, almost jazzy? Combated with the hook and pre-hook the song is a journey for your ears.

Basically, this song makes me want to move and anything that makes me want to dance becomes a jam. Listen to the song below and join me as I stalk the sounds of Anik Khan.

“We Don’t Talk Anymore”?

Truth be told I really wanted to dislike this song, but as I tried to type a well-written, witty, and interesting letter, I found myself slowly grooving. This is a very fresh first impression, but so far (after one listen) I can definitely see this song becoming a “summer smash” and here’s why.

  1. Former Disney Princess Selena Gomez is featured on the track. She’s obviously strayed away from Disney and she’s got her own “edge” now – much sexier, more “sensual,” more womanly? Her name brings attention and the song is slow enough for her vocals to skim over the song and add to the breeziness.
  2. Charlie Puth was already a featured on one of the most memorable summer and soundtrack songs with “See You Again.” His chorus in that song is actually why I instantly recognized his new song. With that in mind, I kind of feel like his voice is inexplicably connected to summer. When I hear Charlie Puth I know it’s summer. Is that odd?
  3. The song fits perfectly with summer’s easy-breezy vibe. Summer isn’t supposed to be hard, it’s supposed to be hot, humid, fun and the song just works. Period. Also the chorus has a really nice harmony on the “we don’t anymore, like we used toOooO.”

Here’s a link to the song (no official video yet) and enjoy this nice cover (also did anyone else watch X Factor? I instantly recognized Diamond…YASS) 🙂

 

I’ve got a lot of things in common…

with the mass of America that loves and requests Alicia Keys’ new single, “In Common.” First and foremost, I am an Alicia Keys fan. I also love the fact that she appreciates a good jumpsuit (remember the “Karma” music video? That jumpsuit is I.C.O.N.I.C.). Outfits and #nomakeup aside, her new single is just upbeat enough to get you moving and chill enough to play at night on a long drive home (from the club or bea’s house?).

In my true fashion, I decided to see if there are decent remixes out there right now, because any good song can also be remixed…right? In this case I first began my search on Soundcloud. The only standout I could find is the one below.

What I like about this remix is the build, it’s smooth all the way through, until certain portions when the bass kicks in a bit heavier. It’s enough to add an additional element to the song without overpowering it.

Youtube offered a wider array of options, but the increased content proved to be disappointing. Honestly, there weren’t any remixes that I felt I should add to this post. None of the remixes were “right” for me/none hit my musical taste palate. On the plus side, I found a video that is basically me when “In Common” is on, so enjoy the video below for a smile.

Wearing my demons with Alex…

Alex Vargas that is. So, I’m not going to pretend I found Alex all on my own. I’ve been a casual long-term fan of Above and Beyond for a while and it’s through them that I’ve been able to delight in the sounds of Mr. Vargas’ voice. I honestly didn’t even notice how talented he was until I sat through Above and Beyonds’ acoustic performance (praise A&B for posting that for free on Youtube).

To explain his voice imagine power, but also delicacy. His falsettos (hopefully I’m using the right terminology *le sigh*) always knock the wind out of you . At the same time he also knows how to punch you with hunger and bass. It’s just pure emotion. SWEET SWEET EMOTION! LAWD YALL…he’s simply superb. I’m including two of my favorite performances, but trust when I say that picking two wasn’t easy. Honestly, just listen to his performances they all speak for themselves. I think I would have died and gone to heaven at the opportunity to attended SXSW because apparently he was there?  Sadly, that’s probably the only shot I’ll have at listening to him live in the US (sans YouTube), as he’s mainly touring in the UK and Europe right now…enjoyyyy 😀