Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sky Ferreira songs: The Good, The Bad and The Downright Excellent

Having listened to her album solidly for the last couple of weeks (as well as her previous songs), I thought now would be a fitting time to analyse Sky Ferreira’s extensive body of work so far. Here is my summerisation of her career so far, in my opinion of course:
Starting with her earliest singles:

The Good - ‘One’
This is a controversial one, a few of Sky’s ‘true fans’ would be outraged at the mention of this song in any positive light whatsoever (she has openly talked about this faze in her career being an absolute nightmare). But that doesn’t make this song any less great. It isn't as edgy as her more recent work, but electropop really doesn’t get any slicker than this. The video is also brilliant, classy and well-shot (with lots of wind). The most risqué it gets is her lip locking with a light bulb, but well forgive her as she was probably totally against it. Although she does appear to be forced into a ‘cute, innocent little girl’ box at times, it is still far classier than most pop videos you see these days. This would’ve fit in well in a Robyn album. B+

The Meh - 17
This song isn’t that bad, it’s just a little underwhelming, Sky is better than this. It’s just really lack-lustre and boring. The vocals are badly mastered, it’s messy and the chorus doesn’t go anywhere. The demo on the other hand is far better and proves that she can (and will) do better. This is by no means the worst it gets. C
The bloody Awful - Obsession
At this point I thought it was game over. This was rock bottom. She has on multiple occasions stated that she did not want to do this song and she definitely didn’t want it to be a single, she was practically tricked into doing it. The song itself is bad but the video is abysmal. She is clearly uncomfortable and doesn't want to be there, it’s as if her management is holding a gun to her head at times, threatening to put the trigger if he doesn't smile.
The bottom line is that this video is creepy, it’s like watching child exploitation right in front of your eyes. She looks dead behind the eyes, a soulless mannequin. And the whole Michael Madsen thing is weird as hell. This should never have happened. F.
Fortunately, this wasn’t the end of her career. Unfortunately, the ‘As If!’ EP happened. A lot of people liked it but I for one thought it was a bit crap. I’d rather move on to her more recent (an far greater) tracks so here is a run-through of the tracks on this EP:

Sex rules - Cheap, Cheap, Cheap. D-
Traces - The chorus is pretty good but not a patch on her better stuff. C+
Haters Anonymous - Sounds a bit like a Lady Gaga B-side, but this isn’t Sky. C-
99 Tears - Could’ve been good but it ended up being a bit of a mess. D+
108 - The best on the EP, if you merged a few of Lana’s unreleased tracks it would probably sound something like this. But it isn’t enough to save this EP. B-

Ah, here’s where things get a lot better, when most people ruled her out she came back fighting in a massive way:

Sad Dream - Good
Who would’ve thought she could do folk so well? While Sad Dream was a bit of a shock, it was a good one. Here, Sky gives one of her most emotionally charged vocal performances of her career thus far, with satisfying results. B+

Lost In My Bedroom - Awesome
This was one of my highlights of her career so far, the throbbing synths are hypnotising and her vocals are quite buried yet still captivating. It’s also extremely catchy. A

Red Lips - Erm...Grungy
To this day I still don’t know whether I like this song or not, on one hand I feel it’s more style over substance but on the other hand I really like the hook. But one thing I’m sure of is that her Courtney Love-esque ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude is pretty damn cool. B-

Ghost - Nice but indulgent
With the exception of (Queen) Kacey Musgraves, I hate country music. Although this is more Alt-country, it’s still a bit bland. Perhaps if it was shorter or if it progressed a bit more it would’ve worked. Her vocal delivery is still very good none-the-less. C+

Everything Is Embarrassing - Excellent (obviously) 
FINALLY!!! The moment Sky fully came into her own and graduated from industry puppet to bonafide  pop-saviour. The production, the vocals, the chorus - it’s all just so right. This song well and truly saved her career and demonstrates the power of good pop. A+

She’s come a long way in her career, and we are now (finally) up to her debut album. This (like all of her releases) is a mixed bag, for the sake of time, here are the songs which stand out to me from Night Time, My Time:

Boys - Good
In many ways, Boys is the perfect opener; it’s smart, gritty, fun and full of energy. The chorus is brilliant and reminds you why you have stuck with her for so long. The only glitch is the line “Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye”, which makes me physically want to gouge my eyes out because of it’s corniness. Apart from that, this song is stellar. A

Omanko - Erm...
Another controversial one, it is the song on the album which has divided me the most; on one hand I applaud Sky’s risk taking, on the other hand I absolutely fucking hate it. The production is OK, the lyrics grate and the vocals are more breath than tone and at 4 minutes and 38 seconds, it overstays it’s welcome massively (it may have worked as a 1- 2 minute interlude of some kind). When the rest of the album is so good, this song seems really unnecessary. D+

I Will - Yes Yes Yes
Another stonker from Sky here, a Kaiser Chiefs recalling guitar intro and twinkling electronic flourishes make this song one of the album’s best. The highlight is her kick-ass attitude, the song is so brilliantly in-your-face that you can’t help but love it. She also sings the hell out of those hooks. A+

24 Hours - Immense
Finally, my favourite song of hers thus far. This song is like the musical equivalent of an 80’s Christmas special (mainly due to the bells). It’s blazing synth melody, explosive chorus and killer hooks bridge the gap between current and nostalgic perfectly. It even manages to pull of a fade-out which is nothing short of masterful. A+

And there you have it, my analysis of the mighty Sky Ferreira’s musical catalogue so far. Although I may seem a bit critical, I genuinely care about her more than most other artist, hence why I want her to fulfill her true potential. In my opinion, Night Time, My Time is just the start.

Sunday, 17 November 2013


3 years since the release of their excellent third album The English Riviera, British four-piece Metronomy return with I'm Aquarius, the tantalizing lead single of their forthcoming fourth album Love Letters (due next year). 

I'm Aquarius is quite a shift from Metronomy's previous singles; it is nowhere near as instant as The Look or as funky as The Bay. However I'm Aquarius is definitely a grower, with every listen it pulls you further in until you're totally hooked. 

It's real strength is in the track's simplicity; the production is sparse yet enough to create a dreamy atmosphere, their are no vocal gymnastics from frontman Joseph Mount and the synths build over the course of the song's four minutes. 

The highlight of the song for me is the backing vocals. The shoop-doop-doop-ahhs are as prominent as Mount's vocals and float beautifully throughout the track . They are the part of the song which sticks in your head and take the song to the next level of brilliance.

With the album not due for another four months, I'm sure I'm Aquarius will keep us going until then. Stream it below:

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Hey guys, I'm a little behind posting wise but I will now resume posting twice a week.(Wednesday and Sunday). This is one I wrote recently for Pyramid and I am particularly proud of it...


Over the past few month electronica has become increasingly prominent in my playlist; I never really cared for it before but now I find it essential. Its rich soundscapes and alluring vocals always get me in a great mood regardless of how crap my day has been. On further inspection, I realised that a huge chunk of the electronica I was listening to was from Canadian artists and bands. It turns out they are pretty damn good at it, see below for some of my picks:


Canadian producer, singer/songwriter and pioneer of all things kooky and excellent Claire Boucher (A.K.A Grimes) got her well-deserved big break after the release of the critically acclaimed third album Visions back in January 2012. She creates weird and wonderful experimental electronica which is hard to define yet no less catchy than your run-of-the-mill radio hit. She is set to release a new album next year at some point so it doesn't look like her momentum is gonna slow down any time soon. 

Tegan and Sara

Canadian twins Tegan and Sara Quin has been in the game for well over 15 years but have never really broke out of the limbo of mediocre ‘indie bands’, that was until they released the absolute stonker of an album which was Heartthrob earlier this year. Easily one of the best albums of 2013, Heartthrob comprises of ten solid synthpop bangers. 

Crystal Castles

Toronto-based duo Crystal Castles are definitely an acquired taste but if you’re looking for some intense experimental/industrial electronica/synthpop/new rave/chiptune music than look no further.

Jessy Lanza

Canadian songstress Jessy Lanza’s Pull My Hair Back is one of my favourite songs from this year; the sleek R’n’B production, smooth breathy vocals and the nonchalance of the lyrics recall a more wistful Jessie Ware.


Like Crystal Castles, Austra’s lead singer Katie Stelmanis’ vocals are also an acquired taste; some find her voice whiny whilst others find it beautiful. Personally I agree with the latter but one thing we can all agree on is than Beat and Pulse is an absolute tune! 

Purity Ring

Grimes’s label buddies Purity Ring released their epic debut album Shrines last year and have since graced many a TV advert with their unique brand of dream pop with a distinct hip-hop twist.


A more recent discovery for me, DIANA are a Toronto-based four-piece who create sensual and calming electronica. On their recent debut album, tracks such as Perpetual Surrender and Born Again show that they are a band to watch with their with their rich swirling production and lush vocals from Carmen Elle. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


About 3 years ago, I downloaded a song for free on the iTunes 'single of the week' section (because I liked the artwork), I didn't think about it much at the time and forgot about it for a while. I didn't actually listen to it until I shuffled my playlist on a journey to Brighton and instantly fell in love with it; it's dreamy melody and ethereal vocals took me to another place entirely and sounded like nothing I had never heard before. I was so drawn in I listened to it consistently for over an hour without even realizing; I was entranced by its beauty. As soon as I stepped out of the car I began my search for the album and eventually found it 3 record shops later.

I listened to their album The Fool for 4 hours straight once I got home and have still not got tired of it. It is a special record. With only 9 tracks it is long enough to not leave you underwhelmed but also leaves you wanting more...

...And now after three years since their critically acclaimed debut album dropped, Warpaint are back with the self-titled follow-up. And they have regained my full attention by dropping the sensational lead single Love is to Die. Love Is To die is like 3 excellent songs in one; the verses (in typical Warpaint) are subdued and dreamy and the bridge creates a sense of impending brilliance. The chorus may seem somewhat anticlimactic considering the build up but it becomes increasingly spectacular with every listen; the vocals seem more powerful, the echos sound more intense and the lyric "Love is to die, love is to not die, love is to dance" seems more poignant.

This is how you do a comeback single. Girls, you now have my full attention.

Warpaint is released on 20th January 2014 on Rough Trade Records.

Monday, 4 November 2013

The best things I heard last month

October is usually a pretty mundane affair, the weather turns crap, your tan has faded and Christmas still seems ages away. I expected October 2013 to be no different, but little did I know that it was soon to become and electrifying month full of exciting album/EP announcements, new tunes and even a Christmas single or two. Here are some of the best things I heard last month:
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Since their pretty much flawless debut album Funeral in 2004, Arcade Fire haven’t put a foot wrong. Although this cements them as one of this decade’s best rock bands, it also puts a lot of pressure on them as a band to deliver (and me as a fan to like it). Thankfully, they have delivered one hell of an album, despite a few duds (*cough* Supersymmetry *cough*), this album is a solid groove-fest with lead single Reflektor, Afterlife and It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus) being particular highlights. Although, if you are new to Arcade Fire, I would recommend that you start with The Suburbs, which is easily their most accessible release.
Check out Afterlife below:
Marika Hackman – Cinnamon
Marika Hackman’s painfully underrated That Iron Taste mini-album was one of my favourite releases of this year so far, I was spell bounded by Marika’s voice and the accompanying dreamy medieval-folk production. It left me gagging for a full length album but I guess I’m gonna have to wait because her next release it a new EP Sugar Blind, which is out in December. Cinnamon is a taste of what’s to come and is a lot darker than some of her previous stuff with its sparse production and electronic glitches.
Hear the gorgeous acoustic version below:
Kelly Clarkson – Underneath The Tree
Too early for a Christmas single? Not in my book! This festive tune comes from none other than American Idol veteran Kelly Clarkson. Kelly has always had a special place in my heart; she was my first ever gig and her albums Breakaway and My December pretty much soundtracked my childhood (along with The Strokes and Bjork).  I was slightly apprehensive when I first heard she was releasing a Christmas album but this song is the absolute nuts. It’s everything you expect from a Christmas song: LOADS of bells, a jolly chorus, bouncy piano, harmonies (predominantly oohs and aahs), cheesy-arse lyrics, plenty of hooks and even a sax solo. But it totally works and is already a classic in my opinion. I would say this is Mariah-level awesomeness.
Say Lou Lou – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards and Better In The Dark
Say Lou Lou are Swedish dream-pop duo who have been turning heads with their dreamy electro-pop, their single Julian was good but it was their excellent Tame Impala cover which (which dropped in September) showed that they mean business. Hot off the heals of this marvel of a song (which is available for FREE here) they dropped yet ANOTHER epic song, this time in the form of electro-pop stonker Better In The Dark which can be heard below:
Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time
I first came across Sky Ferreira at the tender age of 11 and formed a slight obsession with her and even created a website dedicated to her in ICT class. After uncountable false starts and an arrest, Sky has finally dropped her debut album and it is well worth the wait. Sky has managed to channel her traumatic experiences into 12 electro-pop songs with extra bite. Despite the absence of my personal favourites Everything Is Embarrassing and Lost In My Bedroom, she has produced an pop album which is as meaningful as it is catchy, with highlights being Boys, 24 hours and Nobody Asked Me (If I Was OK). However, due to Capitol Records’ obvious conspiracy against me, they are making it really difficult for me to obtain a copy, the bastards.
Oh I do love a female-fronted band, they seem to really capture the emotion of their lyrics whilst creating catchy hooks at the same time. Blessa do this perfectly, their recent single Between Lines has a gorgeous guitar melody throughout which recalls shoegaze and pop as well as an absolutely glorious chorus with a soaring female vocal to top it all off. The b-side is a more low-key affair but equally as brilliant, I’m expecting a very good album from them in the not-too-distant future. Check out both songs here:
Disclosure – Apollo
Having only just dropped one of the best albums of the year in June, I was pleasantly surprised to see an new Disclosure song in my Soundcloud timeline. It isn’t yet known if it’s an off-cut or if it’s part of a bigger release but one thing is for sure; it is bloody brilliant. Returning to their roots, Apollo sports a more deep-house infused sound which my favourite Disclosure songs such as Tenderly and Flow also have. Good stuff.
Lewis – Hunter
From the already established to the brand new - literally this is their only song online at this present moment. Lewis are a Brooklyn-based band… that’s about it for now. But they have given us an absolute gem in the form of Hunter, which is a blues-rock/pop/electronica/country/R’n’B stomper is one of the most confident debut singles I’ve heard in a while, it sounds like a song from an already established/already universally adored band which you might hear on the trailer for the next big American vampire drama. The best thing about this is that it is only a promo track, their first official release is still to be announced. Exciting stuff.

November, you’ve got big shoes to fill…