Listening Post #13

by Emily Pratten

1. Treasured Soul - Michael Calfan

French producer and DJ Michael Calfan has been knocking around for a few years now, with songs of his playing a lot during Swedish House Mafia sets and various remixes getting a little bit of French air time. This new track is a definite hit, with a piano melody driving forward the big deep house track. It’s a banger, really! This is a dance anthem for sure that is likely to make the DJ well known in the UK, after appearing as Radio 1’s track of the day earlier this week, as well as securing him as the bonafide face of house music in France. The vocal sample appears similar to a line taken from Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, “turned my sorrow into treasured gold”, but with an enormous twist. It’s summery and tropical and energetic and marvellously produced.

2. Hold Back The River (cover) - Ella Henderson

James Bay’s Hold Back The River is a really beautiful song. In fact, I’m sure it’s been on the Listening Post before. Ella Henderson, famous for Ghost (going to the river to pray) has set her mind on another river-themed hit and covered it very very well indeed for Radio 1’s live lounge. Her voice is wholesome and natural and very beautiful, and it’s so refreshing to hear her voice’s power as a stand alone component in a song. The stripped down nature of this track really allows her voice to shine and wholly stands up against the original.

3. Say It All - Great Good Fine Ok

I love this song so much. I was going to put By My Side by the same band on as that’s the other one I can’t get enough of, so take this as an instruction to please go and listen to that too. This is a two in one kind of deal because I just can’t choose. This one, Say It All, starts off a lot slower and is generally slower in tempo to By My Side. It’s atmospheric and chilled out and layers of staccato synth slowly build up behind the line “I’ve given you everything”. There’s then a small gap for the line “I can handle, let me handle” to drop in, in a lower key, with a new melody, and it’s this bit that gets stuck in your head. The backing vocal and the swirling percussion means the song remains calm but not boring. GGFO’s lead singer boasts a truly beautiful falsetto voice and I would violently recommend you go and explore their wider work.

4. Paper Light (Higher) - Loreen

This one is just a banger. It really is. Sometimes I can’t listen to it because it gets me so pumped up and I’m convinced I can in fact hit all of the notes, which my flatmate passionately disagrees with. It starts off fairly basic, with a lovely female vocal dropping in over a couple of high tempo piano chords. It doesn’t stay basic for long though, and as the song progresses other piano chords come in and layer up and up and as Loreen sings “We’re going to be higher, lighter” a bass drum kicks in and an undoubtable summer anthem is born. You can hear it playing on summer road trips and days on the beach and an apt music video would be a go-pro on a rollercoaster. It’s high energy and inspiring and emotionally charged. It’s full of hope worth seizing.

5. Can’t Pin Me Down - Marina and the Diamonds

This track comes from the third album by Marina and the Diamonds. When performing an intimate show at London’s Oslo in Hackney last week, she proclaimed this song as one of her favourites from her recent body of work, and it’s no wonder. It’s so sassy and confident and empowering. And _feminist_ *break for applause*. The song expresses the anger and discomfort at being put in a box, being forced to be something you’re not and people assuming roles for you that you have not chosen. Marina says it best when she says “You may think I’m one thing but I am another, you can’t call my bluff, time to back off motherfucker”. It’s this line alone for me that just sets the song up to be a real sassy “fuck you”, and from this point on you’re emotionally invested and fully behind everything she sings. “You ain’t got me sussed yet, you’re not even close” opens the second verse and continues the lyrical middle finger.