Hozier - Take Me To Church
Dublin singer Hozier's new single Take Me To Church has been rapidly building support over the past few weeks, largely due to the incredibly hard hitting video that criticises Russia's views on homosexuality. But it's the song itself that deserves to be the source of the thousands of views that the video has racked up because Take Me To Church is a real gem. Hozier's soulful and deep vocals wrap around a song that lies somewhere between gospel, indie and blues. It massively stands out from everything else around at the moment but also packs in an incredibly strong and melodic chorus that make it perfect for radio. The track is quickly gaining chart traction in Hozier's native Ireland and the rest of the world will hopefully soon follow.
The Arrows - Entropy
I first mentioned South African duo The Arrows on this blog a short while ago when they featured on what has become one of my favourite songs of the year, Spin My World by DJ Kent, the recently released video of which does a very good job of selling their home city of Durban as a potential holiday resort! I decided to check out Pam and Christie's other material and downloaded their first album, 2010's Make Believe. The album is packed with perky jaunty pop similar to the likes of Lenka or Mika musically, but is a very strong and engaging listen, particularly lyrically where the girls' Christian upbringing shines through heavily.
My instant standout from the album was Entropy. Looking at the problems of modern day South Africa lyrically, it's completely juxtaposed with the music which almost sounds like a broken Disney song. I say that because whilst musically it sort of sounds Disney-esque, the structure is completely erratic, jumping from verses to bridges to random string laden sections whilst a chorus never particularly emerges. But the song works so well as a sort of disjointed musical poem, that it doesn't need any one major reference point. I can't recommend the song, or this duo, more highly. Recent single Disaster Queen is also absolutely brilliant and their style is fantastic. It's almost as if they've taken bits out of the wardrobes of all of Katy Perry, Rihanna and Lady Gaga whilst looking even more bizarre than this combination suggests. Check out Pam's croissant inspired hairstyle and Christie's turquoise wig in the Spin My World video for example!
Sarah McLachlan - World On Fire
I've been listening a lot in the past week or so to Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan's album The Essential. The newly released two disc compilation houses Sarah's biggest hits as well as some of her early and more recent singles and some songs from film soundtracks. She's always been one of my favourite singers and I've always felt that she's criminally underrated in the UK. She experienced huge success in the US and Canada in the late 90s with classics such as Angel (somehow only a No.36 hit in the UK, but I guarantee you'll know it!), Adia and Building A Mystery. Her only notable UK hit came in 2000 when she was the featured vocalist on Delerium's top three hit, the dance classic Silence. The original version of Silence, an almost church like track that sounds nothing like the hit remix, features on this compilation alongside all of those mentioned above.
Also worth checking out are covers of The Rainbow Connection, Blackbird and Time After Time and a couple of film soundtrack songs, When She Loved Me from Toy Story 2 (you'll know it if you've seen the film) and the uplifting Ordinary Miracle from Charlotte's Web. But my personal favourite song on the compilation is 2004 single World On Fire, originally from the incredible album Afterglow. My favourite song of the year back in 2004, it's a beautifully written pop song with a very thought provoking music video that looks at how $150,000 that could have been used to shoot a video was put to better use. It seems a great shame that Sarah McLachlan never fulfilled her career potential in the UK but at least she was rightfully recognised on the other side of the Atlantic.