This week on Single Play, there’s a kind of “Mallrats grow up” vibe to some of the song selections. However, it’s not all Forever 21 in today’s column. Rather, I believe I’ve mixed up the songs and artists so that you’ll be able to find something that appeals to your taste. So, without any further delay, let’s get on with the show!
Jessie Ware, “Sweet Talk”
What do you get when you cross Sade with Everything But The Girl? Well, if you’re Jessie Ware, that’s not a bad combo to be crossed with. Ware’s sultry voice combined with more contemporary music flourishes and soundscapes makes her music both chill and very pleasant to listen to. On “Sweet Talk” you can hear the underbelly of electronica and a kind of ’80s UK soul-pop bubbling up in the chorus. The song is pretty likable from the get go, so it won’t take but a couple of spins before you’re loading this one on your iPod.
Sometimes you gotta kick it up a notch…or 10, and that’s why the music gods created Kinski. Their hard pounding, yet melodic pop-punk will have you nodding in 4/4 time pretty quick. And with “Conflict Free Diamonds” you’ll immediately hear what I’m talking about. Missing the grunge phenomenon by about a decade, Kinski nevertheless kept the torch alight with songs like this to make sure music fans don’t forget that sometimes all you need is three chords and the truth.
“Closer,” Tegan and Sara
I saw Tegan and Sara open for Paramore a couple of years ago (remember, I have a teenage daughter, so…), and thought they did a fine job presenting their brand of folky alt rock to a bunch of (mostly) girls who just wanted to see Hayley Williams. Maybe it was their interaction with Paramore on that tour that sparked a change in their music, but the T & S have really revamped their sound for a more polished, hook-filled, and, yes, commercial single.
Speaking of Paramore…Now here’s a band that is both wanting to change, and remain true to the kind of music that propelled them headlong into the arms of alt rock girls across North America. A delicate balance to be sure, but I think they’ve pulled it off on the lead track from their upcoming album. “Now” gets the hook out in front from the beginning, but then settles into more familiar musical territory for Paramore. Now that there are only three members to the band (the brothers, Josh and Zac Farro departed the group in 2010), Paramore has the challenge of sounding like their former incarnation while pushing the band’s sound in new directions. While “Now” isn’t as layered and interesting as say “Decode,” I think it’s a strong enough single that demonstrates Paramore will be going strong for the foreseeable future.