01 February 2023

1 February 2023 - Aya Nakamura - Baby

Most of my readers are from the United States.  So, you've likely never heard of French/Malian singer Aya Nakamura.  In Europe, though - she's huge, without a doubt. Nakamura isn't her real last name (she lifted that from a character on the TV show Heroes, which I can't recommend enough unless you want to watch it past the first season.....).  Her fame grew out of, shockingly, her YouTube channel.

This is the lead single off her latest album, DNK, released on January 27th.  Written by Nakamura herself, it is a pretty standard R&B song both musically and thematically.  It just happens to be in French.  So, I encourage you to give it a listen, and I hope you like it as much as the last French-language artist I pushed down your throats.

31 January 2023

31 January 2023 - Rolling Quartz - Blaze

We went down a cover rabbit hole yesterday, but in doing so, we discovered a rockin' band.

Rolling Quartz formed in 2019 when Rose Quartz and Rolling Girlz, two different bands, merged into one, creating an indie rock band that demands your attention.  

That's right.  I said "demands."   They're that good.  Jayoung's huge vocals drive the band, all of whom are both technically strong and bring personality to their performances.

This, their debut single, was released in December 2020.  

The band formed just before the global pandemic, and released their first single DURING the pandemic, so they had to adapt to a new normal in performance, but they also came back to live performances hard as soon as they could. 

30 January 2023

30 January 2023 - Måneskin - Zitti e Buoni

It's not often we get to feature Eurovision-winning bands.  I'm happy to say that Italian band Måneskin fits that bill.

This song, written by the band, was Italian representative and winner of Eurovision 2021.  The song also won the Sanremo Music Festival the same year.  Notice how hard the song rocks.  It is an angry rebuke of an older generation who does not value the input of those younger than they - the title roughly translates to "Quiet and Good" i.e. shut up and be good kids.

The song actually started off as a ballad.  Strange to imagine that, so we'll just give you the song that won Eurovision.  Viva l'italia!

Yes, of course we're including their Eurovision performance.  C'mon now.

26 January 2023

26 January 2023 - Hall & Oates - Out Of Touch

Daryl Hall and John Oates may be the greatest duo of the 1980s.  At least, my friend Mark thought so.  

In 1984, this song went to #1 on the Billboard charts.  It would be the duo's last trip to the top of the charts - although they still had a few hits left in them.  Oates wrote the chorus off a synthesizer riff, and the duo wrote the verses the next day. 

 It's also one of my personal favorite songs by the duo.  Which is the real reason why we're talking today.

25 January 2023

25 January 2023 - Everlast - What it's Like

We're almost a month into 2023, and we're still writing 2022 on our checks.

Just kidding.  We haven't written a check in years.

But that's how we're getting you back to 1998, when bluesy guitarist Everlast broke onto the scene with his only solo hit (he previously had a hit with his group House of Pain) - a song that uses each verse to tell a story of someone who is figuratively drowning in their life (and literally drowning in the video).  

By the way, "his only solo hit" is by no means a measure of the success Everlast has had, as he has continued to create music that resonates, and has been nominated for several awards.  Here he is, performing his best known song just a couple of years ago.  His voice is raspier, which lends itself well to the bluesy tone of the song. 

24 January 2023

24 January 2023 - Double Take - Hot Problems

You had to know we'd get here eventually.  Today is the day.

Drew Garrett and Lauren Willey didn't have a lot of confidence in their singing abilities.  This is why they went with talk-singing on their viral hit that many have called "Worse than "Friday"".

These two young songwriters (that's right, they wrote this) also didn't actually think they're hot.  This song, from 2012, was the first of just a few singles by the singer-songwriting duo - all in a similar style, and all clear parody.  

But we know the real question: where are they now?

We did a #WickedGP deep dive to find out what the ladies were up to since their viral fame.  Drew Garrett is a holistic health coach with her own business.  Lauren Willey's Instagram bio clearly states that she is a "lifelong hoop earring advocate & beauty PR w/ @behrmanpr".  Both appear to be living successful, happy lives outside the music industry.  

23 January 2023

23 January 2023 - Glass Animals - Heat Waves

What was the biggest hit of 2022?

According to Billboard, it was "Heat Waves" by Oxford band Glass Animals.  Which is quite an achievement, since it was released in 2021 as a single (and ended up #16 on THAT year end chart) and took 59 weeks to get there.  It spent more than a YEAR on the pop chart before it hit #1, and spent a month there.  And that's just what it did in the US!  In Australia, it spent 85 weeks in their top 10, the longest run by far of any single.

It's not like Glass Animals is some big hitmaker overnight success of a band.  They've been around since 2010, and this was their first big hit. 

So what made this song a hit?

Well, weird Minecraft fan fiction that highlighted the song didn't hurt, but I'd like to think it's the simple lyrics and captivating electronic beat.  Anyone can sing along to this song.  Even me!  Hell, I'm singing along right now.  

It also may be the fact that they are a different band, with an accessible look.  They aren't overstyled.  They're a real band, writing real music.  And they perform it live, too.