If you’re a regular visitor to my blog you know the drill by now, but just in case…
Tracks I’m Loving is a regular segment of mine where I post little mini-reviews on songs that I’ve been addicted to over the previous month. Now, the last time I did one of these was back in March *falls off chair in shock* so, because I’ve got six months to catch up on, there will be a few more than normal but I’ll try and keep them short and sweet. With that being said, let’s get into it…
William Beckett – Compromising Me
For those of you who were into with the pop-punk scene when it exploded in 2007, this name may be familiar to you. Yes, since their disbandment in 2011, ex-The Academy Is frontman has been going it alone as a solo artist.
But if you’re expecting to hear more of the same, you might be a little disappointed. That’s not to say this material is bad, far from it, it’s just different.
Taken from his debut solo EP, 2012’s ‘Walk The Talk’, Compromising Me is bold and assertive, with the accompaniment taking on an almost dreamy quality. The chorus is where the song really hits its stride; its jaunty vibe and bucket loads of defiance make for an explosive hook that will have crowds screaming along in no time (and it does… I’ve seen it.)
It always puts a smile on my face and it’s one of those songs that you can’t help but want to sing along to. Come on everybody, ‘I don’t, I don’t care what you’re saying about me, no I don’t care…’
*Tracks I’ve also been loving: Just You Wait.
Ellie Goulding – Beating Heart
Ellie Goulding has done it again.
I first heard this track when I went to see Divergent (Goulding has several tracks included on the soundtrack) and I was instantly intrigued by it. It starts off with quite a haunting sound, but still has that synthy, dance-like undertone that the majority of her songs possess.
Goulding’s slightly accented soprano vocals are flawless as always, she switches between the higher and lower notes of her range effortlessly, adding to the beauty of the track.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Ellie Goulding’s album Halcyon Days recently, and I love her voice; I find the fact that she sings with a slight accent really intriguing because it’s almost like you don’t know what she’s going to do next. One thing’s for sure, her music is always bursting with emotion; and this song certainly packs a punch.
*Tracks I’ve also been loving: Anything Could Happen/Burn/How Long Will I Love You.
Sam Smith – Stay With Me
What can I even say about this? The third single from British singer/songwriter Sam Smith’s debut album ‘The Lonely Hour’, Stay With Me, is a pop ballad drenched in soul and oozing emotion.
The song is an ode to unrequited love and, as such, you can almost feel the yearning and want throughout. Smith’s honey-voiced vocals drizzle over the piano accompaniment switching between the higher and lower notes with ease, always sounding well rounded and packed with soul.
With a few already under his belt, this song reached number one in both the UK and US charts and it’s easy to see why. Smith is fast becoming one of my personal favourite vocalists.
Sam Smith – Latch (Acoustic)
I couldn’t not give this track its own entry because it’s one that’s really come to mean a lot to me over the last few months.
I stumbled across this version online one night when good friend of mine and I were talking about the original, and because we all know I’m a sucker for different arrangements of songs I gave it a listen – and instantly fell in love.
The dance beat of the Disclosure version has been replaced by a piano and strings, allowing the lyrics to shine through rather than be overpowered. This also heightens the sentiment – giving it more of a heart-felt, comforting feel – and enables it to really come into its own as a love song.
Sam Smith’s vocals are, as always, unrivalled; his soulful tone perfectly connecting with, and conveying, the emotion of the track.
Captivating from the beginning to long after its ended; it’s a beautiful song that you can’t help but love (my friend and I are living proof of this as we made it our song for that very reason.)
Demi Lovato – I really Don’t Care
If you’ve read any of my previous ‘Tracks…’ posts, then you know I love me some Demi Lovato – and this is another song to add to the list.
Its jaunty opening is infectious from the get-go; the synthy dance beat giving a carefree and positive vibe to what is – at its core – a break up song. Demi’s vocals are – as always – impeccable, strong and full of emotion; with such conviction that you can hear in every word.
It’s a song that is making the best of a bad situation; instead of pining over the end of a relationship the rose coloured glasses have come off and you realise that things weren’t as perfect as you thought.
Empowering and motivational; it’s a massive two fingers up to THAT ex, “you can take your words and all your lies, I really don’t care.”
*Tracks I’ve also been loving: Give Me Love (Ed Sheeran Cover)
Nico & Vinz – Am I Wrong?
This is another song that my ‘latch-loving’ friend introduced me to; he asked me one night if I’d heard it and I hadn’t so, again, curiosity got the better of me and I went a-looking for it online.
Hailing from Oslow, Norway, the duo – made up of Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery – have already topped both the Scandinavian and UK charts with this track, having made its way across the airwaves since its original release as a digital download in 2013.
The song has a relatively chilled, slightly dreamy vibe, with inspirational lyrics about love and forming your own identity. It opens with a haunting soprano refrain of ‘ooh’s – a motif that reappears throughout the song – and there are also other instrumental elements in there that give a nod towards their African background.
It’s a great song that’s easy to listen to and has a positive underlying message.
Elissa Francheschi – Neon Lights
I first heard this song when Elissa posted a ‘bloopers’ video for it on YouTube and even though it was tongue in cheek and full of ‘mistakes’, I really liked the song and was itching to get my hands on the full version… and last month I finally got my wish.
Taken from her newest offering ‘Chemicals’, Neon Lights is everything you’d expect from Elissa Franceschi in the best possible sense. It’s a happy and nostalgic song about friendship and growing up, “go and escape, see what awaits you.”
Accompanied only by a piano there is room for everything to truly shine rather than be lost in an elaborate arrangement, from the instrumental, to the lyrics and Franceschi’s – as always – beautifully delicate, yet powerful, vocals.
With tracks like these it makes you wonder why she’s not a major mainstream artist; she sure as hell deserves to be.
Sleeping With Sirens – If You Can’t Hang
I’ve got to be completely honest, this song crept up on me in a huge way. I listened to it a year or so ago and I didn’t really think anything of it, but Sleeping With Sirens are a pretty big name in the rock world at the moment so I started to wonder if I was missing something and decided to give them a second chance. I listened to the song again and I did quite like it; then I found myself wanting to hear it every day and I was hooked.
The opening is slightly reminiscent of Black Mamba by The Academy Is, that is until the guitars crash through and give the track more of a hardcore feel, but arguably one of the most striking elements here is Kellin Quinn’s instantly identifiable vocals. Possessing a leggero tenor range, Quinn’s unique vocal sound is like Marmite; you either love it or hate it.
As well as this, the song has an insanely addictive bridge (“If you can’t hang then there’s the door baby” – I dare you not to sing along) which acts as a build up to the explosive yet melodic chorus. It just goes to show that you can’t always judge a song upon first listen.
Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne – Rather Be
If you haven’t heard this song, where have you been?!
This UK based electro-pop foursome produced one of, if not the, summer anthem of 2014. Combining elements of classical music with a synth-pop dance beat and Jess Glynne’s stong Adele-style vocals, the track has a fun, carefree vibe perfect for blasting in the summer sunshine.
After receiving the accolade of Hottest Record In The World on Zane Lowe’s weekly Radio One segment, the song went on to spend 4 weeks atop the UK charts and also become the fastest selling single of 2014 after its release – and it’s easy to see, or hear, why.
Bastille – Things We Lost In The Fire
I’ve been rediscovering my love for Brit indie-rockers Bastille lately – I included their track Pompeii in a previous ‘Tracks…’ post – and this just seems to be the song that I’m always gravitating towards.
Taken from their number one debut album ‘Bad Blood’, released just last year, Things We Lost In The Fire has quite a sombre feel to it in both the overarching tone and lyrics. However, the jaunty instrumental provides a funky contrast making it danceable, injecting a sense of fun and showing that it’s not all doom and gloom.
I also personally really enjoy Dan Smith’s vocal style; it’s one that kind of creeps up on me every time I hear it and reaffirms my fondness for the band.
As well as these 10 tracks, I’ve also been listening to a lot of You Me At Six’s ‘Cavalier Youth’ and Set It Off’s ‘Cinematics’ during my morning commute.
The latter have also just released their follow up album Duality and have premiered a handful of new tracks from the album online, including lead single Why Worry, NME (No More Excuses), and Tomorrow, featuring Mayday Parade vocalist Jason Lancaster. So, there will be an upcoming review of that album as a whole, which is why I didn’t feel the need to include certain tracks in this post.
If you made it this far, well done and thank you for reading – I’ve really enjoyed writing this post after such a long time and I’ve got so many ideas for posts that I want to upload soon so watch this space.