Waiting for the Weeknd

Dropped with little narration, new material has landed on our lap from the beautiful Canadian export Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd. His trademark smooth and sultry tones swim perfectly through the new single, Often, which I can promise you will be on repeat for me until further notice.

 

An assortment of blatant dirty lyrics, counteracted with the soulful sweetness of his voice, makes for an expected hit in 2014. With little noise since September 2013 when Kiss Land was released, I’m sure this single will be happily received and finger’s crossed, some more new material may be coming our way soon. Watch this space…

 

American Woman

Elizabeth Woolridge Grant aka Lana Del Rey arose from of a fold of her former introduction into the music world. An image of bleach blonde hair and a varsity jacket now she is a perfect mannequin of puffed lips, pointed red nails and edgy tattoos. A cinematic sounded surrounded by a smoke screen of glamour and lust, which she effortlessly turns into poetic song lyrics.

The thought behind becoming a signer was coloured by the idea of creating love around herself, a small community she could create by meeting new people. Her first signing with 5 Point Records was short lived as she bought herself out of it after just 5 years claiming it was a non-starter, probably due to the fact that her EP Kill Kill was ‘put to bed’ soon after it’s release and quickly she admitted defeat and ventured down a career path to help those looking to be rehabilitated back into the community after drug or alcohol abuse.

In 2011, after struggling with the help of her father to publicise her next self-titled album, she met with Ben Mawson, her current manager. They moved to London for a few years to concentrate on her career and so it began…

In 2011 she sauntered onto our screens with the intoxicating and beautiful Video Games. Accompanied by a smoky, sultry video with cinematic artistry, sun and young love.

To follow was a spectacular album Born To Die selling 3.4 million copies in 2012. The Paradise edition of the abovewas released in late 2013 selling 67,000 copies in the first week.

Young & Beautiful, written by Del Rey for Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby was next to address the limelight and shortly after this the pre-hyped release of her short film Tropico aired on her official Vevo. A statement from Del Rey coined this as the closing chapter to her first album.

Panned by some critics for being anti-feminist and pro-prostitution (which I believe to be a misinterpreted, prudish view of her fantasies) it’s clear to see that her work has undoubtedly caught our attentions, for good or for bad and this week saw the anticipated release of her third album Ultraviolence.

Still cinematically characteristic of Del Rey, the 15-track album is hauntingly beautiful with a perfect split of beauty with glamour and lusty addiction. Releasing 3 songs separately before the entire album only increased my excitement for the arrival of the completed set. In her songs you can hear her fascination of a glamorous world, a story world of painted images that exist in books and films and for some in real life and it really is fascinating. She has no qualm about naming one of her tracks I fucked my way up to the Top and you better believe the feminists will be all over that, but really, is she as bad as Rihanna dry humping a golden throne in a thong bikini? Del Rey is writing but not living this story in the public eye. Rihanna’s blatant display of vulgarity is something she was never previously about.

Ultraviolence has a note of darkness, like the previous album, but recently this darkness has been in the papers when she interviewed with the Guardian writer Tim Jonze. After questioning, she admitted that many of her idols are the greats who have died young, but confessed it was more about their personas and achievements that she idolised, their death was merely an added note to their stories. Understandable, and if you listen to the lyrics of her songs, it’s clear to hear a girl infatuated by the lifestyle and beauty of fame and drugs and addiction. As beautiful as these lifestyles sound, they often like their lead roles do, like Jimi or Janis, not so glamorously but what an end to the stories. I just believe this acceptance of dying early that Del Rey has admitted to is just part of her desire to live life like her songs portray. Tim Jonze can’t be blamed for what he wrote, it was merely the exact words to come out of her mouth – but this really shouldn’t taint her for you. She’s Hollywood, aren’t they all a little crazy? One thing that can be said, she’s dedicated to her image and her persona – just listen to her lyics.

Aside from the suicidal acceptance and anti-feminist views, the album is superb. Beautiful and dark with some excellent indulgent tracks, admittance to wanting all the things in life we shouldn’t really own up to, power and money and boy, she wants it all. You’ll want it all too and you’ll want to wander into her story garden and just not take that left turn to work on Monday morning.

Purple Heaven

prince

On the 23rd of May, something incredible happened to the noble northern city of Leeds. Some sort of cloud appeared over us, a thick smog of hazy indigo and then a dark and dramatic smattering of heavy rain from the heavens. Taxi’s we’re fully booked and all shops had allegedly run out of purple clothing and accessories. The night had finally come, the day when one of the greatest music legends of all time was to grace our new stage at Leeds Arena in a three piece purple 70’s inspired ensemble, bell bottom flares, heeled boots and a purple sleeveless fur jacket like your Mother (or if you are me, your Father) wore back in the day. And so it began…

Introduced to the stage by his three lean, beautiful and oh so very talented female collection The 3rd Eye Girl,the excitement was ravenous and I was already stopping my heart from leaping out of my mouth! Here I was, about to witness history, which is what one of the female collective told us when she asked politely that we do not take any pictures because “you can’t live the moment through your camera” which I have to say was pretty true. What’s worse than watching a concert through someones shiny phone screen or even worse, someone’s large iPad screen? Then it happened, the thick, deep, heavy bass plummeted down through each body occupying the arena and a thrill of excitement darted round and round until…he was there, in front of his perfectly crafted symbol microphone stand singing “Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down, oh, no let’s go!” 

Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL_13853_thumb_580_326

The next two and something hours were filled to the brim with classic Prince songs, soulfully reincarnated and excellently executed. The man really has got stamina and at one point he decided to rid himself of his guitar causing one stage hand to leap across to catch the falling instrument like a new born baby falling from Michael Jackson’s arms! I’m not sure what the outcome was, my eyes were firmly fixed on the man himself.After launching the beautifully crafted guitar, he rocked out for the remainder of the song with his own perfect set of moves that surely would have had even your grandma rocking out! I mean I really was blown away.

I have to say the 33 song set was probably one of the most comprehensive overviews of his career I had seen and probably everyone else attending. It’s also fair to commend his latest work, with the sound of unfamiliar songs hitting the arena, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. He has recently resigned with Warner Bros , so do watch this space.

Then he went and did it…something I was’t expecting but I am so thankful for. The mood was calm as everyone rested from the on-going purple party who starred in wonder of this amazingly talented man, waiting on his every note until he graced us with his, original version of Nothing Compares To You. This is something I will never forget.

The night moved on, too fast in my eyes, but with such satisfaction. I didn’t leave the floor once for fear of missing, something…anything! It really was one of those moments where you really just want him to be looking straight at you when he walks towards one corner of the stage and serenades the over whelmed crowd of fans. One thing I noticed, that seemed strange I hadn’t understood this before was how skillful he was with his guitar. He belongs up there with the greats, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton. I suppose I have always been so won over with his lyrics, his image and his voice that I have overlooked his skill with the 6 string.

Overall it’s fair to say I have never been so impressed with an artist. His stamina, happiness, talent and epic history burned through that night and with such enthusiasm for his work and his fans. He was still the Prince I had discovered when I 12 years old riffling through old music collections of my parents and he was still the Prince I loved when I really understood just what he was about.

There really is only one way to round this up and that is, if you ever get the chance to see this musical marvel, snatch the opportunity tightly and don’t let go a visit Purple Heaven is well worth any price.

Plectrum Electrum will be released later this year. http://vimeo.com/61739791