Tracks of the Month – July/August

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well and that you made the most of the UK sunshine while it lasted. It even managed to stay dry and sunny on Bank Holiday Monday – that never happens! 😮

I know my blogging schedule has been a bit up the wall lately, and all I can say to that is that I’ve had a really busy and stressful summer. But, I’m back today to bring you my ‘Tracks of the Month’ for both July and August. Honestly, the phrase ‘Late-to-the-party’ seems to be a bit of a recurring theme throughout this month’s selections, but I thought I’d share them with you anyway 🙂 . Let’s go.

 

Niall Horan – This Town

The first solo single from ex One Direction-er Niall Horan, ‘Little Town’ is a stripped back acoustic ballad with a folk-pop vibe. This cutesy, yet sentimental love-song also comprises a very simple, soft arrangement; making it all the more poignant as it allows the romantic lyrics to be the main focus. This, coupled with the beautiful guitar-led melody, works to create something delicately impactful.

 

The Chainsmokers ft. Coldplay – Something Just like this

If you’re a fan of either of these bands, or you’ve just generally been keeping up to date with the current pop charts, you’ll know that this song was actually released way back in February. So, I hear you ask, why have I waited until now to feature it in a ‘Tracks I’m Loving’? Honestly, it was a bit of a slow burner for me; I’m not the biggest Coldplay fan so it never really struck me as something I must listen to. However, I kept hearing it in passing and eventually the chorus got stuck in my head and I decided I had to listen to it properly. Taken from the Chainsmokers debut album ‘Memories…Do Not Open’, ‘Something Just Like This’ is upbeat, totally infectious and an all-round absolute banger. As is their signature style, it’s a whirlwind of electro-pop brilliance, topped off with vocals from Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin. I’m glad I gave it a proper chance.

 

The Subways – Rock & Roll Queen

I only recently discovered this 2005 release after it featured on BBC Three’s dramatization of the death of Sophie Lancaster, ‘Murdered For Being Different’. However, seeing as it has also been included on multiple TV pieces – including noughties cult favourite ‘The OC’, as well as the trailer for 2008 Guy Ritchie Movie ‘RocknRolla’ – I can’t fathom how I’d never heard it before. ‘Rock & Roll Queen’ is a dark and gritty indie track drenched in old-school punk rock vibes, with Billy Lunn’s unique vocals giving it a distinctive edge. Boasting a great rhythm that you can’t help but groove to and an insanely addictive chorus, I can imagine it’s a massive crowd pleaser at gigs and festivals.

If you want to check out my review of ‘Murdered For Being Different’, click here.

 

Placebo – Running Up That Hill

A total re-discovery for me, after it was also featured on ‘Murdered For Being Different’, is Placebo’s eerily haunting cover of Kate Bush classic ‘Running Up That Hill’. Set to the sound of Brain Molko’s undeniably distinctive vocals, this version of the song has more of a brooding, atmospheric, almost filmic quality. I feel that it worked really well in ‘Murdered For Being Different’ due to where and how it was used; as I said in my original article about the programme: ‘The film closes with a selection of images of Maltby and Lancaster together, set to the tune of Placebo’s version of Kate Bush classic ‘Running Up That Hill’ – the lyrics making it even more poignant.’ It stayed with me long after the film had finished.

 

Linkin Park – Numb

This is another definite throwback to my teenage Emo days. Taken from Linkin Park’s 2003 full-length release ‘Meteora’, ‘Numb’ is arguably one of the rock band’s most popular, iconic songs. The instantly recognisable synth-led opening, closely followed by the crashing mix of drums and guitars, has a somewhat nostalgic feel: like re-visiting an old friend. Tragically, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington took his own life in July, and I listened to this track a lot in the wake of his death; it’s without doubt my favourite song from the band. Bennington’s vocals are flawlessly smooth and powerfully gritty at times, and their angsty lyrics – bursting with emotion – hit even harder now. As I said in my previous blog post: ‘It’s music that gave so many people, so many ‘outsiders’, something to relate to in one way or another; voicing things that perhaps we as listeners, couldn’t. It brought the ‘outsiders’ in; helping people through their personal tribulations by sharing their own.’

If you’d like to see my previous tribute to Chester Bennington, click here.

 

As always, thank you for reading! I hope I inspired you to give these songs a listen, if you somehow haven’t heard them already. If you like what I do here and want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, feel free to come and join me on:

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Music is Love: One Love Manchester

Benefit concert ‘One Love Manchester’ proves that music brings people together in the wake of recent terror attacks in the UK.

Hey everyone,

I’ve been a little bit quiet lately, but if you follow me on my social media then you’ll know that I, like many others, tuned into BBC One’s coverage of the ‘One Love Manchester’ benefit concert on Sunday June 4th. Held at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, thousands of fans gathered at the charity event organised by pop singer Ariana Grande, to honour and raise funds for victims of the recent terror attack which took place after one of her shows in the city, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds more.

Being a music lover, I find solace and comfort in my favourite songs and will never be able to describe the feeling that can only come from truly connecting with a track, and being able to relate to someone else’s words on such a deep level. By extension, going to gigs is a way of celebrating and experiencing the joy and atmosphere that only a live show can bring. As I sat watching ‘One Love Manchester’ the poignancy of the whole event really hit me, even through my TV screen – and you’d only have to glance at Twitter to see that I wasn’t the only one.

I see concerts as a place of magic, of community, of belonging. There’s always the sense that, whatever you’re going through is left at the door and for those few hours, nothing else matters. Nothing but the music and the atmosphere that surrounds you. Coming together with total strangers but being united in the fact that you all believe in something, you all believe in this. ‘One Love Manchester’ really embodied that spirit, and showed that hate and fear will never overpower it.

Katy Perry’s words at One Love Manchester

There was a sense of strength and resilience at the core of the whole show; the artists playing tracks with powerful, inspirational vibes. From Robbie Williams’ moving renditions of ‘Strong’ and classic track ‘Angels’, to Katy Perry’s sassy performance of ‘Part of Me’, the message was clear: we will not be beaten. We will not be afraid.

Headliner Ariana Grande shared the stage with many of the other acts involved, including coming together with Miley Cyrus for a duet of Crowded House track ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’, as well as joining forces with Coldplay to wow the audience with a heartfelt cover of popular Oasis number, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger.’

The 23 year old starlet also joined The Black Eyed Peas onstage for a performance of their 2003 number one single ‘Where Is The Love’. Upon its release the song topped the charts in 13 countries – including the UK where it occupied the number one spot for seven weeks – and is the epitome of the reason for the entire event. Lyrically, it addresses mindless acts of terrorism and asks, where is the love and compassion we should have for each other as human beings; making it as relevant now as it was back then.

Throughout every single act – including the likes of Little Mix, Niall Horan, Pharrell Williams, and Liam Gallagher – the 50,000 strong crowd sang, danced, and cried along to every single word. Many of the artists gave heartfelt speeches and were also overcome with emotion during their sets, none more so than Grande herself. As the night drew to a close, the young talent welcomed all the artists to the stage and thanked them for being involved, before launching into a heart-wrenching performance of her track ‘One Last Time’ – giving a goosebumps-inducing meaning to the song.

I have a huge amount of respect for Ariana Grande for organising the event and to all the artists who took part in some way, the entire concert overflowed with emotion and the love hung thick in the air – whether you were there or watching at home. Grande ended the night with a powerful version of ‘Over The Rainbow’, a beautiful moment that saw her become tearful. As she thanked and told the audience she loved them, it was evident that she herself is still deeply affected by what happened two weeks ago, but her spirit in organising the show and carrying on in spite of that is undisputedly endearing.

There is absolutely no denying the poignancy of the show as a whole, and of live music in general. To be so wrapped up in a song, to be able to scream the words at the top of your lungs because it means so much to you; and then to hear hundreds of other people doing the exact same thing, for the same reason is an amazingly moving feeling. The beautifully haunting sound of all the voices blending into one is truly something to be experienced and, in this particular incidence, knowing the reasons behind One Love Manchester: paying tribute to those who were lost or injured in the attack, you couldn’t not be moved by it.

Did you catch ‘One Love Manchester’ on BBC One last Sunday? What did you think of the show? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 🙂