Sunday, 21 April 2013

Everything Everything On Later... with Jools Holland

Last week, Everything Everything appeared on Later... with Jools Holland to perform a few songs from their current album Arc. The band played 'Cough Cough' and 'Kemosabe', both of which highlighted their penchant for interesting hooks and falsetto vocals, while tight musicianship and unison backing harmonies provided further proof of why they are such a unique and exciting band - both live and on record.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Five Underrated Michael Jackson Songs

Michael Jackson's music is so widely known and admired, that it is debatable as to whether any of his songs can be classed as underrated, especially for hardcore fans of his work. That being said, I do think there are certain tracks that fly under the radar and are often overlooked in favour of the universally recognised classics such as 'Thriller', 'Billie Jean' and 'Man In The Mirror'. Below is a list of what I feel to be underrated Jackson songs, most of which have been selected based on listening to Jackson's catalogue as a whole, while others have been chosen because I feel they are underrated on the specific album on which they appear.

'I Can't Help It' (Off The Wall)
On Off The Wall, an album largely made up of uptempo disco tunes, 'I Can't Help It' is an understated gem. Co-written by Stevie Wonder, the soulful track is dominated by an irresistibly seductive bass line that draws the listener in from the start.

'Human Nature' (Thriller)
Although 'Human Nature' may not be considered an underrated Jackson song in general, it could most certainly be viewed as a "forgotten" track on the Thriller album. Appearing on the tracklist just after the record's title track, followed by 'Beat It' and 'Billie Jean', it's understandable that the song, with its laid back, melodic beats, could be overshadowed by this trio of Jackson's most successful and well known tracks. However, all of this doesn't detract from what a beautiful and inspiring song it is.

'Remember The Time' (Dangerous)
I'm usually met with surprised / blank stares when I tell people that 'Remember The Time' is my favourite Jackson song, and that Dangerous is my favourite album. I feel the album is underrated as a whole, and features a wonderfully diverse mix of genres, from the hook heavy 'She Drives Me Wild'  to the softer tones of 'Gone Too Soon'. However, it's the funky verses and ad-libbed choruses that make 'Remember The Time' my most loved MJ track.

'Stranger In Moscow' (HIStory)
It's hard to believe that 'Stranger In Moscow' only peaked at number 91 on the US Billboard Chart when it was released as the fifth and final single off HIStory in 1996. The down tempo ballad features lyrics rooted in loneliness that are reflected in both the instrumentation and call-and-response vocals.

'You Rock My World' (Invincible)
Though it received mixed reviews at the time of its release, Jackson's final studio album Invincible, is often regarded by fans as underrated and lacking the recognition it deserves. I feel the wavering reviews came as a result of too many music critics comparing the album to the likes of Thriller, which had been released nineteen years earlier. Really, Invincible should have been reviewed based on its strength as a standalone album, a record in its own right. As it is, the album features a strong selection of slick R'n'B floor fillers and soulful ballads that all contribute to a very enjoyable listen. However, it's the infectious beats and bouncy strings that make 'You Rock My World' the standout track of the album. The accompanying video is also awesome and equally underrated.