Hey folks, how are we all?
So the last time I did a music-related post, I believe it was reviewing the wonderful Scottish band Fatherson’s album. If you didn’t catch it, click here to give it a quick read…
Back now? Ok, I’ll carry on.
Anyone who know’s me well enough will know I enjoy all kinds of music, though it has to be said, I find it incredibly difficult to want to listen to something other than Lady Gaga. Actually in fairness, I’ve struggled to even manage that with me spending an enormous percentage of my time at work, so in reality I should probably give you guys a list of whatever weird music they got the rights to play in work every day – share the joy.
No, I’ll keep that all for myself.. instead I’m going to list a selection of tracks I’ve kept pretty much on loop for the past month that will either make me look really unique and interesting, or just bizarre (I suspect the latter).
Crayon Pop – 1st & 2nd Mini-Album
K-Pop has had a following in the western world for quite a while now (probably since the 90’s), but in the past few years more and more people have been swept up by Japanese and Korean culture. While you might think, ‘What the hell is K-Pop?’, chances are you’re already quite familiar with one artist.. remember Psy’s Gangnam Style? Yep, you’re a K-Pop expert and you didn’t even know it!
Well actually you’re not even close, but at least you’ve got an idea of what I’m talking about.
The funny thing about this band is that I became a fan accidentally. I was showing my friend one of Crayon Pop’s music videos, ‘Bar Bar Bar’, because they were touring North America as Lady Gaga’s support act on the Artpop tour and there was a slim chance they would also be doing the European leg. Anyway, we ended up watching quite a few videos and then I couldn’t get the songs out of my head. I think it must have been a similar situation for my friend too, because now we’re both big fans.
In terms of discography, when they say ‘mini album’, they mean it. Combining both ‘albums’ gives you about 7 tracks to enjoy, but I suppose that makes it easier to catch up if you’re a new fan. They’ve also released odd singles with other K-Pop artists and a Christmas song… I know what I’ll be adding to my Christmas Spotify playlist!
So what do Crayon Pop actually sound like, aside from weirdly catchy? Well K-Pop generally can be a combination of genres, but Crayon Pop specifically is like taking pop music of the west and injecting it with a couple of large doses of steroids. Full on electronic music with dance-y beats and happy sounding lyrics, it’s guaranteed to either annoy the hell out of you (because it’s so happy) or have you dance along to the fun-sounding song.
Mark Ronson feat. Kevin Parker – Daffodils
I’ve loved Mark Ronson’s music for years now, and watching his Glastonbury set this year reminded me of how awesome he is as a producer.
Anyway, as I now spend the majority of my time at work (reluctantly) listening to the ‘radio’, I’ve noticed a couple of good songs slip through in amongst the rest of the rubbish we’re subjected to. This includes ‘Daffodils’ by Mr Ronson (or it did up until a few weeks ago..), which I always tend to hum along to.. I don’t often sing at work anymore, it saves embarrassment for both myself and the customers.
It’s quite different to what you would expect with it being called ‘Daffodils’, but Ronson is well known for experimenting with many different styles of music. Listening to it, the track has a slight 70’s feel to it with a funky (ugh, surely there’s a better word than that..) bass & lead guitar tune, perfect for cheering one up during a lengthy, trying day at work!
Fleetwood Mac – Silver Spring
I rather enjoy Fleetwood Mac, and am always listening to their music at least once a day.
My all-time favourite Fleetwood song will always be ‘The Chain’, because it’s the best and that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I’m a big F1 fan… *cough*
That doesn’t mean I have no other ‘seasonal’ favourites; a month or so ago I’d have probably said my favourite was ‘You Make Loving Fun’ (though I don’t really care for Christine McVie as a singer), but now it seems I’ve gone full circle and have ‘Silver Spring’ on repeat.
Stevie Nicks has been called a Romantic many times, and this song is one of many of her songs that embody the label. This song sums up the whole ‘one that got away’ emotion, when I’m having a ‘boo hoo forever alone’ kind-of day, but you can also quite happily enjoy this song regardless of your current emotion or relationship status.
Holst – The Planets ‘Jupiter’
Anyone who knows Holst’s music, or classical generally will probably think it I’m being a bit of a basic bitch here. I’ll admit I’m cringing a little in including this (because it’s one of the more well-known classical pieces, like Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’), but I’ve been obsessed with this suite for a long time; way longer than just the month of August.
The Proms season opened over a month ago now, and I tried desperately to bag myself a pair of tickets to see ‘The Planets’ being performed. Instead I was forced to listen at home on BBC Radio 4 which was ok, but as a musician I love watching others play, almost as much as I love playing myself.
It’s fair to say that ‘The Planets’ is the most famous of Holst’s works, something he resented later in life (hence my slight embarrassment). ‘Jupiter’ is the 4th movement in the suite and is undoubtedly the most iconic piece of music in the collection. Otherwise known as ‘I Vow to Thee, My Country’ (in parts, not the whole piece), the ‘Bringer of Jollity’ does exactly that, along with a few patriotic tears (for my friend at least) and a tune that will stick in your head for days.
I love this piece because unlike most orchestral music, there’s quite a hefty brass section, something I appreciate being both a brass musician and a Yorkshire Lass. Though I suppose I’m not the only one who appreciates a good brass section given the piece’s popularity.
You might be sitting there thinking ‘K-Pop and now Classical, what the hell is going on here?’ which is fair enough, but I can guarantee you’ll have heard elements of this piece somewhere at some point in your life. Elements of this piece have been played countless times on T.V. including an episode of The Simpsons.
I find this entire suite incredible (as you’ve probably gathered by now), because it’s almost as though Holst had Star Wars in mind when he was composing. I’m pretty sure he didn’t, but one can’t help listening and imagining some epic battle, or Darth Vader gliding around with ‘Mars, Bringer of War’ playing in the background… it’s brilliant stuff!
If you only listen to one thing from this post, I urge you to listen to ‘Jupiter’.. and maybe even the whole suite after that, if you’re feeling brave.
So there we are, a few things I’ve been slightly obsessed with this past month. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot but lets not forget, I only have a limited amount of time to squeeze in other music on top of all the Gaga I listen to…
Anyway, what have you been obsessed with listening to this month?
Comment below and let me know!
Till the next time,