01 July 2024

1 July 2024 - Charlotte Cardin - Passive Aggressive

Happy Canada Day for those who celebrate.  

Here's Canada's own Charlotte Cardin, with her 2020 hit that established her as a credible artist and a Canadian hitmaker - the first single from her album Phoenix.  The Montreal-born singer-songwriter, has been making waves in the music industry with her unique blend of pop, jazz, and electronic elements. Her track "Passive Aggressive" offers a raw and honest look at the complexities of modern relationships. 

The song deftly tackles a common yet often unaddressed issue in relationships. The song's lyrics paint a vivid picture of the frustration and confusion that arise when direct communication breaks down. Cardin's portrayal of passive-aggressive behavior is both relatable and uncomfortable, forcing listeners to confront their own experiences with this destructive communication style.

Charlotte Cardin's background as a French-Canadian artist adds an intriguing layer to her music. Growing up in bilingual Montreal likely influenced her ability to convey complex emotions through her songwriting. The city's rich musical heritage, blending North American and European influences, can be heard in the sophisticated pop sensibilities of "Passive Aggressive."

The production of "Passive Aggressive" is a masterclass in creating atmosphere through sound. The track opens with a sparse, almost eerie piano line that sets a tense mood from the outset. As the song progresses, layers of electronic elements and percussive beats are added, mirroring the building frustration in the lyrics.

Cardin's vocals are treated with a light touch of reverb, giving them an intimate yet slightly distant quality that perfectly captures the emotional state of someone dealing with passive-aggressive behavior. The chorus explodes with a fuller sound, representing the release of pent-up emotions.

One of the most interesting production choices is the use of distorted, chopped vocal samples in the background. These create a sense of internal dialogue or conflicting thoughts, adding depth to the song's exploration of communication issues.

You didn't expect such an in-depth analysis from this blog, did you?   Well, expect it now.

18 June 2024

18 June 2024 - Mother Mother - Infinitesimal

Wikipedia would have you believe that Mother Mother are a Canadian indie rock band from British Columbia.

Mostly because they are.  But they're more than that.

They're one of the holdovers from #MapleLeafMarch 2023 that I could not even get to in 2024 OR 2025 because they were so full.  I mean, I did post "Hayloft" eariler this year, which pushed this song back FURTHER, but I've had this draft for years.

This song, from the 2012 album The Sticks, was released as a single in 2013. This particular tune was a top 20 alternative hit in Canada in 2013 - and I'm a little surprised it didn't go bigger. Bigger was in their future and their past.  

They are a band with some depth, for sure.  Here they are, performing the song in a stripped-down manner in Calgary in 2012. 

11 June 2024

11 June 2024 - Carole Pope ft. Peaches - Lesbians in the Forest

Look, you're not supposed to take Carole Pope too seriously.  She's a comidienne, who makes humourous music. 

So, you can laugh at all the stereotypes that she wrote into this song.  From her 2014 album, Music for Lesbians, and co-written by TIm Welch (who plays a lot of the instruments) and Peaches, the song is quite the journey.  

But she's also a punk pioneer, being a founder of Rough Trade and other early punk acts.   She's a classic, through and through, and she's still making music.  She was also one of the first openly lesbian musicians - so when she goes to a forest, she is literally a lesbian in a forest - but also, she was unafraid, even from her early days.  

So, even though this song was a bit of a laugh, it's also a testament to Carole Pope's life.

Like everyone else during the pandemic, Carole did a live version of this video over Zoom, and yes, Peaches shows up here, in typical Peaches fashion.

07 June 2024

7 June 2024 - Cœur de Pirate - Golden Baby

You thought we were doing a thing.  We told you we were doing a thing. 

So why this nice young lady with a œ in her name?

She came out at queer after the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016. It's an excellent read, and I strongly recommend it.

This bright song is from her 2nd solo album, Blonde.  And it's fun.  And it was a big hit (in Belgium and France - where her music sells very well).

This live performance of the song from 2015 - in front of a largely English-speaking crowd - was well-recieved, and equally bright as the recording.  She started the performance very nervous (a lot of the material from that day was new and untested, and French), but this song was already well known and a favorite.

06 June 2024

6 June 2024 - Wham! - I'm Your Man

I don't know why I love this song by Wham!  I always did - it always brings a smile to my face.  Is it a great song? NOPE.  Is it consistent with the rest of the Wham! catalogue? NOPE!  

It is, however, one of the last singles by Wham! before their 1986 breakup, hitting #1 in the UK and #3 in the States - and various chart topping worldwide.  It's a bright, fun single, an homage to Motown of sorts - the horns! the harmonies - written entirely by George Michael.

It strikes me as more of a George Michael solo song and less of a Wham! song, I suppose, although Andrew Ridgeley is clearly front and center in this video. 

Indeed, George Michael did go solo soon after this single's release - this was the last song they played as Wham! at Wembley Stadium, at their farewell show in 1986.   Terrible video exists and here it is.

However, in 1991, in Rio, at a a George Michael show, that is CLEARLY Andrew Ridgeley performing with him.  We're glad the split was not acrimonious - it was, in fact, quite amicable - and in fact, the two men remained great friends for life.

05 June 2024

5 June 2024 - Culture Club - Church Of The Poison Mind

Yeah, we're doing a thing and we are proud of it.  

This song was the lead single from Culture Club's 2nd album, Colour by Numbers, and it was a top 10 hit worldwide, including the US (#10) and UK (#2).  Was it their biggest single? No.  "Karma Chameleon" was.  But it was such a big and enduring hit that it was in the top 10 at the SAME TIME as "Karma Chameleon", which was released later.

I think history has forgotten just how huge Boy George and Co. were in the mid 1980s.  We were all embracing this gender-androgynous vocalist without issue.   I hope this post remedies a little of that.

Anyway, this was my favorite Culture Club song, off the first cassette tape I ever bought with my own money.  It was a good purchase.   Written by the band, the song features uncredited backing vocals by the huge voice of Helen Terry - and she appeared on several other tracks as well - who appears in the video (and several others by the band).

Helen Terry also performed with the band live, which is amazing, and their 1983 performance of this song is incredible.

This more recent performance, from the late 2010s, does not feature Helen Terry, and features a less androgynous Boy George - and also interpolates Wham's "I'm Your Man".  

It is incredibly cool.

04 June 2024

4 June 2024 - Jazmin Bean - Puppy Pound

So, let's talk about Jazmin Bean.  Who are they?

They have been releasing music for six years - their first performance at age 15 involved a bar and a chicken liver they rubbed on themself.  They rose to prominence with their extreme makeup styles (and they do have a makeup line, by the way).  They come from music royalty of sorts, as borh their mother and their father are from well known British punk bands.

They are a very interesting person. They idenify as non-binary, use they/them pronouns, and specifically refer to themself as "generless".  

We are cool with that.  Because they seem happy. 

This song and video are kind of a fever dream.  That's about the best we got here.  But it's interesting pop electronica, and we think you should listen.

They also perform to sold-out crowds and we think they're really singing and not lip-syncing.