Tag: Songs of the week

Elliot’s Songs of the Week: No. 3

Elliot finally returns with his mega-famous Songs of the Week series. Elliot talks about songs which you might have never ever heard of but they are well worth checking out – he is the world’s best music critic after all!

15th July 2021

By Elliot

Welcome back to probably one of the most inconsistent [not very weekly] weekly blog segments you will ever encounter, where I find songs which I have enjoyed and talk about them, making the assumption that the world relishes in hearing my opinion. This in turn feeds into my ever-expanding ego and superiority complex until I have convinced myself that I am the only person who truly understands music as I set out to kidnap, torture and silence every other music critic that does not agree with me.*  That being said, here are some of my favourite tracks that I have been listening to this week.

The Ultracheese – Arctic Monkeys

Songs
Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino

The final track off of Arctic Monkeys’ sixth commercial album Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino is The Ultracheese, a heavily Bowie-influenced venture into Alex Turner’s vision of a dystopia for celebrity. It is a look into a man’s mind whose loneliness caused by a loss of friendships and detachment from society leaves him paranoid. Turner’s characteristic lilting vocals beautifully accompany his piano as the song progresses, maintaining an almost lounge-like style.

If you take a step back and look at this song with the conceptual context of the album in mind, rather than a standalone reminiscent pondering, this in fact appears to be Turner once again imagining this hotel, on the moon, as a residence for those celebrities who have long passed out of the limelight. I would even go so far as to say this song portrays a man looking back at the Earth, where they once lived, thinking of those friends that he has left behind. Although in the first person, for me it is hard to say whether Turner is talking about what his future may look like or utilising a larger scope and predicting the doom of his peers as well.

Did these songs predict the future?

It is also worth mentioning that, while dystopian to most extents, day by day this album as a whole seems to be becoming more relevant with lyrics such as ‘no one’s on the streets’ and ‘we moved it all online as of March’ which very weirdly predicts the time at which the UK went into lockdown last year. I could not recommend this album or song enough. Since its release, verging on three years ago now, both have continued to grow on me with its unique imagery and luscious production. This huge musical left turn for the band took many fans by surprise but the Arctic Monkeys’s seemingly outdated grunge sound was in dire need of a replacement. 

Rapp Snitch Knishes – MF DOOM, Mr. Fantastik

Songs

It would be a crime to have not included, at some point, MF DOOM in one of these track lists. In light of his recent passing, it only seemed fitting to me. In 2004, ‘your rapper’s favourite rapper’ released Madvillainy and subsequently one of my favourite tracks off of it – Raid. Madvillainy was a collaboration album between prestigious hip hop sample producer Madlib and obviously DOOM.

To start off with, Madlib’s genius use of a sample taken from Bill Evans’ trios performance of Nardis at the Montreaux Jazz Festival is looped throughout and produces a very laid-back jazz lounge feel to the intro of this track. Furthermore, DOOM’s lyricism and sheer quantity of rhymes produced is, as always, unparalleled with lines such as ‘wrote the book on rhymes, a note from the author // with no headshot he said it’s been a while,’ flaunting the fact that he can rhyme so well whilst also explaining that as the author of the ‘book on rhymes’ he still covers his face with a mask preserving his identity.

Overall, I love this track and every single one off of Madvillainy: it caught DOOM and Madlib at their very best, an instant classic. This album was one of the first albums that introduced me to hip hop and opened my eyes to the genre and out of all rap and hip hop production it has still remained one of my very favourites. I cannot recommend MF DOOM’s entire discography enough – he is the underground king of hip hop. 

Dump – Kero Kero Bonito

Dump is British, electronic, J-Pop influenced, indie band Kero Kero Bonito’s statement on getting rid of old things that you do not need anymore. Having surprised me with their fusion of rather cheery sounding electronic music and conscious lyricism while watching them live for the first time at End of the Road Festival in 2019, Kero Kero Bonito enlightened me to a huge new world of music I had previously neglected.

Dump, although the production is somewhat simplistic and midi centralised, it really emphasises the band’s clear desire to maintain many aspects of dance music. Sarah Bonito, the band’s lead singer on this track, expresses her sadness in throwing her dead parakeet’s cage on the dump and this feeling is reflected in the, more sorrowful than usual, production on this track. I would heavily recommend this song and this band’s music with recent projects like their ‘Civilisation Series’. I would jump on the bandwagon now before their eclectic style of music truly spikes in popularity. 

*In the interest of not jeopardising future job applications and as to not be the next guest featuring on a CANCELLED blog segment, this is sarcasm. 

Check out all the songs featured in this series below!

Cynics

Check out Elliot’s own music below!

Elliot’s Songs of the Week: No. 2

18th April 2021

Trigger warning: the first image contains blood and sensitive imagery

By Elliot

Falling Out the Sky – Armand Hammer, The Alchemist and Earl Sweatshirt  

Renowned American producer The Alchemist has once again worked his magic on this track. Taken out of Billy Woods’ and E L U C I D’s recent collaborative project, Haram, Falling out the Sky really caught my eye or should I say ears. With a dreamy and intergalactic beat, Earl Sweatshirt, this song’s feature, grips the listener, as his emphatic lyrics and lazy flow, describing how he has felt since his father’s passing in 2018, paint his world in gruesome detail with his father’s ‘swollen body behind [his] eyes’. Earl’s stellar wordplay also shines throughout this feature as he explains how his ‘rhymes’ allow him to interpret the world that he lives in. Then comes Billy Woods who is, in my opinion, a wildly underappreciated underground rapper. His signature east side twang compliments the beat beautifully as he talks of a summer smoking with his friends. Last but definitely not least E L U C I D rounds out this track and with swing; he recalls many childhood memories to the listener. Evoking recollection at one point of his friends hazing those that ‘fell asleep first’ by basically just beating them up, depicting what he describes as a ‘vicious cycle, hurt people hurt people’. Overall, this track even though it is just verse, verse, verse, is an exceptional showcase and grouping together of four very talented individuals. I live for it.  

Cover art for Falling Out the Sky

Despair – Black Midi 

In anticipation of UK art/noise rock and post-punk outfit, Black Midi’s new album Cavalcade, due to release during late May this year, released one track early: Despair. One of two singles thus far. This one is by far my favourite. With a more laidback feel to it and clear folkish influences, Geordie Greep (lead singer), for me at least, really embodies his unique, croaky, almost Jim Morrison-esque vocal range. Subtle and sorrowful guitar passages guide you  

The song takes on a medieval feel as Greep talks of ‘man’ taking up a philosophical role. The minimalism of this track compared to a lot of Black Midi’s other endeavours which was a good hand to play for them. I cannot wait to hear the rest of this album and I hope that you join me in that impatience.   

Cover art for Despair

The Light Pt I & II – BROCKHAMPTON  

BROCKHAMPTON, after a decidedly and deservedly long hiatus from music, have come back with their most personal and remarkable album to date with ROADRUNNER. The Light and The Light Pt II really stood out to me amongst the tracklist of this project. Joba and Kevin Abstract shine on both of these songs as Joba describes the aftermath of his father’s suicide and Kevin discusses how it is still hard to talk to his own mother about his homosexuality. Joba’s descriptions of his father’s suicide and subsequently his views on death and what happens afterwards at times verges on hard to listen to. A line of Joba’s which is almost macabre to me – ‘a bloody backdrop, skull fragments in the ceiling // felt your presence in the room’ – not only is this so powerful but the horrendously honest imagery here and throughout these two tracks transports you into a man’s mind so obviously traumatised. The instrumentals across these tracks are gorgeous not to mention. Fuzzy guitar licks reflect both artists anguish as they navigate their way through their psyches. If you do not feel like listening to the entire album, then definitely give these two songs a listen.   

Cover art for The Light Pt I & II

Elliot’s Songs of the Week

6th April 2021

By Elliot

Magpie – Lava La Rue

Up and coming Ladbroke Grove local Lava La Rue has released arguably her strongest single to date with ‘Magpie’. Lusciously layered soul samples dunk the listener into what can only be described as a dreamy psychedelic RnB experience. Lava’s vocals weave in and out of the contagiously likeable beat, with her rap verses flowing effortlessly. While, at face value, it would seem this song is devoted to past lovers, once examined, it is clear through lyrics such as – ‘hear the beat // London city set me free’ – Lava is celebrating the historical diversity of the city she has grown up in. Not a love song to a partner; instead a love song for her city. With heaps of self-confidence, Lava has once again shot herself into the limelight with this single especially in the UK scene and I look forward to hearing more from her. 

Sisyphus – Quadeca 

To say that Quadeca has come far from his days of dissing and collaborating with YouTubers would be an egregious understatement off the back of his recent single ‘Sisyphus’. The depth and grandiose nature of Quadeca’s production on this track is the first thing that took me by surprise. The combination of choral vocals, synth arpeggios and glitchy blemishes adds to the mountainous feeling throughout. Quadeca’s introspective and mature lyrics use the Greek myth of Sisyphus to explain how he only loves his significant other when he is working or ‘pushing the boulder’ so to speak. The song comes to end with a huge crescendo of jarring drums and distorted guitar something not too dissimilar to Deftones with its metal/hard rock influences. Quadeca has very clearly pulled out all the stops to produce something as gorgeous as ‘Sisyphus’ is and I cannot wait to hear more out of his camp. Whether you have not liked or listened to Quadeca in the past this track is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys good music. 

Born in Luton – Shame 

‘Born in Luton’ is a delightful new track by Shame a band hailing out of South London. Riding the wave of a fresh EU post-punk movement spearheaded by bands like Idles and Viagra Boys. With its screeching heavily distorted guitars from start to finish, the song almost diverges into noise rock at points. The song reaches its climax by the end where it seems to implode as Steen, Shame’s lead singer, with anguish, screams his vocals to outro the song. A really enjoyable listen and definitely worth a shot if you are enjoying the sort of post-punk revival that is happening currently. 

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