Songs of the Week: Jamyang, Kay Cola, Noah, Billie Black

SOTW - Jamyang

Jamyang – Things We Ought To Say

I have become obsessed with this record since first hearing it over the weekend. It is the hypnotic beat. It is the harmonies. It is the soft strings. It is the vocal. The second verse… the second verse, and the effortless flight through such a wide range. There is so much I ought to say, however in the words of Thierry Henry, “some things are just meant to be enjoyed!”

SOTW - Kay Cola - Royal

Kay Cola – Royal

In the short year since Michael Brown’s death, you could say nothing much has changed. The police still murder unarmed people of colour at an alarming rate. Everyday I seem to open the news to more unnecessary bloodshed and hate. Then again, you could say everything has changed. There is now an awareness which has spread beyond just minority communities, but also to those with privilege. People are beginning to have a conversation, and with an election looming in the US, the conversation is happening at the right time.

The video for Kay Cola’s Royal captures this succinctly. It uses video from #BlackLivesMatter protests intertwined with earthy and pure scenes of her singing by the sea. Bringing home the connection of people’s struggle and the nature we all share.

The song is poignant and timely, “We will never back down, we will never bow down, I’m not going face down, I’m not gonna break down, I am brave enough, strong enough…” That fire spreads through the entire record and you are left with a feeling of hope. Great record from an equally absorbing album.

As a quick aside, there is a lovely interlude on For The Dreamers which features someone explaining Bob Marley’s philosophy to a person unfamiliar with it. When I heard it a couple of weeks back it got me thinking that we need someone like Bob even more than ever right now. The way he was able to use a musical form unquestionably Caribbean and spread a message of love and unity to places which were often hostile to those from the Caribbean! It was like he burst in to a room of enemies and was saying, I know you hate me, however I am going to take something that defines where I am from, that defines me as  ‘different’ (from a Western status quo perspective) and share it with you because it was made with love. That cultural exchange spliced with lyrics full of love and peace bought people together in a time of conflict and racial tension. Bob. We miss you.

SOTW - Noah - Airport Bar

Noah – Airport Bar

There are some classic songs which you never want people to touch, cover, interpolate, sample, reference or anything. Let a song be.

However, there are others you just love hearing other people’s take on. Josh Groban’s Pure Imagination from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory of old is one such record. I love hear people play with its melodies, its samples and Noah’s Airport Bar is one you can file next to Build An Ark’s epic version as being top notch.

This is a super smooth, super chilled slice of R&B about kicking back at an Airport while waiting for a flight. I love how it captures the loneliness of travel, especially when trapped waiting for a connection. I love the way the lyrics wonder around, making a deal of tiny observations. The person reading, the melted ice on your table, the way you wonder if every pilot walking by is your pilot. One for the travelers.

SOTW - BIllie Black - Floating

Billie Black – Floating

Billie Black is one of those artists who I have been telling everyone I meet about. One of the few people who has been on constant repeat since I first heard I Waited For You at the tail end of 2014… I just realised I have not posted any of her tunes though. She’s always released new music while I have been on one of my self-inflicted hiatuses.

Floating captures many of the things I love about Billie Black. Her way of crafting very visual lyrics. The way she gently borrows from many dance based music styles. It is a really engaging listen which begs to to be rewound as soon as it finishes. Right now my fingers, toes and anything else I can think of a crossed that she makes it out to San Fran sometime in the very near future!

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