Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue #2

* [Disclaimer] ‘Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue’ is a desperate attempt to show that my musical palette isn’t as bland as a chino-wearing yacht owner from Norfolk called Keith eating a plate of couscous with a biodegradable knife and fork that he bought in a 2 for 1 special at ASDA while watching a highlight reel of ‘The 80s Greatest Quiz Show Moments’ in his fully carpeted, decadent bungalow in Slough. Please enjoy this week’s selection of (hopefully) great music. *

Something Old: Dianna Ross – ‘It’s My House – 12” Remix’

Oh my Lord the amount of funk in this song is almost too much to handle. ‘It’s My House – 12” Remix’ is one of those songs that should be on every BBQ playlist ever made. An absolute hip-shaker, I’m pretty sure it could get even my Dad twerking on the Saturday night dancefloor. The delicate guitar riff that characterises most of the song doesn’t shout, it simply lets its presence known to you with some clinically chosen, deftly played notes. It’s the same story with the bass, sometimes slapped, sometimes stroked into smooth ecstasy, there isn’t an unpolished edge to this song. It feels like you’re swallowing the world’s most spherical gobstopper and damn does it taste good. As always, there’s Dianna Ross’ mesmerising voice to keep you hooked with its particularly mischievous edge, and since this is the extended version, you get a full two minutes of extra funk for free!

Something New: HAIM – ‘You Never Knew’

There has been a mixed reception to HAIM’s latest album, Something To Tell You, with some criticising its apparently mundane lyrics. In fairness, I haven’t actually listened to the album, but I have been absolutely hooked on the absolute tune that is ‘You Never Knew’. It’s got a lovely balance, in terms of both genre and production, that allows the likes of the charming acoustic guitar plucks and the echoey backing vocals to really stand out at the right moments. The interplay between all the different vocals works perfectly during the chorus, creating a masterful blend rather than a confusing mess. There’s so much background production going on as well, and although it sounds a rather simplistic song, there’s an overwhelming amount making it tick.

Something Borrowed: Mark Ronson – ‘Animal’

Almost everything Mark Ronson touches turns to gold, and his remix of Miike Snow’s ‘Animal’ is no exception. The original is a rather catchy poppy number, but Ronson gives it so much more depth and atmosphere by adorning it with that Back to Black style and tone of production. It’s the interplay between the raw horns (this is the Mark Ronson of 2009, of course there’s trumpets!) and the tickled ebony and ivory keys, the wavering organ fills that drift in and out, the now crisper and more reverb-heavy vocals of Andrew Wyatt; it’s like Ronson took a perfectly commendable vegetable ratatouille and just chucked a shit ton of meat onto the dish. Garnishing this heart disease-inducing course is the exquisite percussion, as the pounding bass drums, constant off beat hi-hat, and dragged drum rolls give the remix a remarkably dynamic rhythm.

Something Blue: Bon Iver – ‘re:stacks’

There’s not a lot more that can be said about Bon Iver’s debut album For Emma, Forever Ago that hasn’t already been said, and in particular the song which brings about its sombre conclusion: ‘re:stacks’. Concerning the crippling effects of online gambling, ‘re:stacks’ is one of those songs you listen to when you can’t seem to figure out just exactly what you’re thinking. The rasping guitar strums, the honest lyrics, and Vernon’s heart-breaking way of singing them, do all the talking for you. It’s a song that takes the weight off the listener’s problems and carries it away into a space where it can no longer burden any shoulders. Simply put, it is perfect.

Robert Cairns

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